Photography in the modern era: European documents and critical writings, 1913-1940
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oct 1, 1989 - Photography - 350 pages
The decade between the world wars witnessed an astonishing flowering of photography in Europe-- marked particularly by the unprecedented work of such figures as Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, and Alexander Rodchenko. Alongside the visual experiments ran a fascinating public discussion in which critics, artists, and the photographers themselves struggled to define the nature and possibilities of photography in the modern era. The seventy-one essays and documents collected in this book provide a concise, provocative introduction to the ideas and personalities that animated avant-garde photography during these years of artistic ferment and that continue to influence the medium today.
By turns poetic, analytical, and fiercely ideological, these diverse writings give expression to a very wide range of original ideas. Moholy-Nagy calls on photographers to create a powerful abstract vision that will transform our ability to see. Albert Renger-Patzsch argues for a quite different goal, a photography of revelatory realism that lays bare the essence of the subject before the lens. The French writer Pierre Mac Orlan explores psychologically compelling notions: that photography realizes "all that is curiously inhuman" and "creates death for a second." Photography is widely characterized as a modern machine-age art that supersedes the traditional fine arts. In the Soviet Union an extraordinary interchange pits the avant-gardist Rodchenko against opponents who insist that social usefulness is photography's primary responsibility.
While shedding important new light on the directions taken by photography during the twentieth century, these essays also illuminate such major movements as Futurism, Constructivism, Surrealism, and the New Objectivity. Most of the selections were not previously available in English and have been translated especially for this volume. Each appears with an informative headnote by Christopher Phillips, who in an introductory essay provides a lucid overview of the period and the context in which the writings first appeared.
With its wealth of new material, this collection is an essential resource for all those studying photography or seeking to understand the visual culture of this century.
This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition The New Vision: Photography Between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 23-December 31, 1989.
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abstract advertising aesthetic Albert Renger-Patzsch Alexander Rodchenko appeared artistic avant-garde Bauhaus beauty Berenice Abbott Berlin camera cinema color contemporary create creative culture dada effect elements essay Eugene Atget exhibition experience experimental expression facsimile fact facture film foto French Germaine Krull German graphic human illustrated imitation Jan Tschichold Joel Agee John Heartfield Kallai Laszlo Moholy-Nagy lens light literary look Louis Aragon lyrical Mac Orlan magazines material means mechanical medium modern photography Moholy movement Nadar nature Novyi lef objects optical organized Original publication painter painting Paris photogram photographic photomontage pictorial picture Pierre Mac Orlan plane poet portrait possible precise present prints produced rayographs realism reality representation reproduction revolutionary Robert Desnos Robert Erich Wolf Rodchenko shadow snapshot Soviet street surrealism surrealist technical technique things tion tography Translated by Joel Tzara viewer vision visual arts