U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Pond-moonrise (was: Re: Steichen image in April's 'Vanity Fair'

Re: Pond-moonrise (was: Re: Steichen image in April's 'Vanity Fair'

Jack, ordinarily I would agree with you in general on this point, but in this case, where we have three eyewitnesses on the list who saw the Met's print in Chicago in 1989 and were so struck with it that they still remember it, reporting that they remember the sky as a deep blue or deep teal-blue, and also we have the Met's conservator's report that the pigments used to color the print were yellow and blue-green, I'd say the circumstantial evidence points to the surmise that originally, all three prints were (roughly) similarly colored.

Besides, if the print had looked 20 years ago as it does on the Met site now,


I have a hard time believing that it would have captured people's imagination to the extent that they still remember it 20 years later.

I've checked the dates on these, and interestingly, the platinum with applied coloring (the Met print) was made in 1903; the gum over platinum and the cyanotype over platinum were made the next year, in 1904. For whatever that's worth.

On Mar 19, 2009, at 1:12 PM, Jack Brubaker wrote:

I wonder if these prints ever looked all that much alike. These folks were searching for the most compelling version of each image and printed experimentally. I suspect that the differences were intentional.


On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM, Katharine Thayer <kthayer@pacifier.com> wrote:
Thank you phritz, for the tiny URL!

Yes, I agree there is a very faint blue in the sky, but all accounts (and by the description of the applied pigments as yellow and blue-green) this print was once more brightly colored and more similar in appearance to the other two than it is now. Steichen was experimenting with different ways to produce the same effect, with the goal of finding ways to reproduce more labor-intensive prints with a simpler and faster process, according to the Met analysis of his works. I don't have time to trace down a timeline of the order in which these prints were done, but the hand coloring appears (if we can trust the Met's representation of this print) to have been the least permanent of the three ways he produced the three prints of this image that are known to still be in existence. It would be interesting to know what pigments he used for the applied coloring.

@ Don: the fact that these three prints are different in coloring has nothing to do with a non-color-managed browser, and everything to do with the fact that the three prints were made with three different processes, and that the intervening hundred years has apparently taken a different toll on the different materials.


On Mar 18, 2009, at 9:02 PM, phritz phantom wrote:

faded or not, i think i can see a slightly blue color in the print from the met (the middle one) just above the moon in the sky.

here's the url to the image in the online catalog of the met. tinyurl'd