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'

On Mar 20, 2009, at 8:53 AM, Paul Viapiano wrote:

Why not just email the curator of photography?
Umm, for what? We already know that the blue color on the Met's print was applied by hand; that was established by the Met's conservation department. I don't know what information the curator could add that would be useful on that point.

The museums don't have access to the negatives, those are still in the hands of Joanna Steichen, so MoMA doesn't have any more information about whether Steichen used a positive to print the cyanotype on that print than we do, nor would the Met know about negative(s) for the other print that was auctioned. So I'm not sure what information you're suggesting that a curator of photography could provide?

Oh, unless you're suggesting that we could ask the Met's curator of photography whether their print has faded (although that's a completely different issue than the one in the post you've linked to here); I suppose that makes sense, although I would think the conservation department would be more likely to be able to provide useful information than the curator. Judy's great example of dubious information provided by the curator of the Getty museum about gum printing shoud provide a caution for assuming that curators know very much about the prints in their collections.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Katharine Thayer" <kthayer@pacifier.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 9:40 AM
Subject: Re: Pond-moonrise (was: Re: Steichen image in April's 'Vanity Fair'

On Mar 20, 2009, at 8:26 AM, Katharine Thayer wrote:

But I'm disappointed, because the reason I posted the prints in the first place was to address Judy's observation that when she saw one of these prints in person, it seemed to her that the blue must have been printed with a positive, rather than a negative (sorry, paraphrasing, but I hope that's the gist). I think it's fairly obvious that must be true of MoMA's print, at the bottom of the page, where the blue ( in the form of cyanotype, if MoMA's description of this print is accurate) replaces all the light areas and the moon is obviously colored in, without a matching moon in the reflection. I'm not so sure about the auctioned print, the gum over platinum, where the light areas remain light; I think with that one, the gum layers were probably added using the original negative, or maybe a slightly altered negative, but still a negative. I asked what you thought about that, and haven't seen an answer. I'm still interested

To finish off the triad, if by chance it was the Met's print you saw and were puzzling about, in that case the blue was hand- applied and not photographically printed at all, which would explain why there was blue tone in areas where you wouldn't expect there to be tone.