U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Truth Beauty book

Re: Truth Beauty book

Chris... who is publisher of this book, also year, "author" and ISBN ??? (Your description sounds irresistible, so I will assume it's better than that title. I mean, speaking as an authority of course, "Truth Beauty" with no punctuation is trying for something it doesn't [IMO] reach, tho you're probably tougher than I am about such misdemeanors.) Meanwhile, we have a Barnes & Noble within striking distance that might have it...

However, to mention what you already know, when you say, "I am continually amazed by how dark the printing trend was at that time," OK,-- but my experience is that the style of printing in a book is not necessarily the "style of printing" of the works themselves.

For an extreme example, I recall our first trip to Europe, when we visited some of the sites memorialized in the Skira books... a series probably ended before most folks on this list were born, but those were *the* art books (practically the only art books) of the day.

The colors on the books' pages were two or three times as bright and deep as the colors in the frescos (for instance) that they depicted. (Tho of course they could claim to be the original colors, from 100s of years earlier.) Probably most folks at that point only knew the works through the books and those beautiful pictures did sell books -- but the originals tended to be anticlimax. (Which reminds me of Sarah Van Keuren's comment about starting her alternative photography classes with gum printing... her students were disappointed when the subsequent processes [cyano, VDB, etc.] didn't take the same subtractive treatments that gum did.)

It does seem however that many books are relatively freeform versions of the originals. Tho it soounds like you're familiar with these "originals" -- or their equivalents? Do they make you want to print darker?

IME, BTW, the lighting in the gallery or display is critical... Even in my own studio, how close I put a print to what kind of light makes it look altogether different.


On Tue, 7 Apr 2009, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

I said quite a while ago that I would report on the book Truth Beauty, Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945, and I finally got to look at it today when I cleared off my desk of much work (sounds like Judy's plight). It is a gorgeous collection of photographs--121! From North America, UK, Europe, Japan and Australia. For me the book is a must have, for the images in it and the fact that there is a lot of text in it, unlike many photographic catalogues. In fact there are chapters on pictorialist photography in the Czech lands, in Japan, in Australia, about 20pp on readings in the history of pictorialism, etc. There are artists I have not seen. There are some really neat gum prints. My favorite print in the book is Olive Cotton's Grass at Sundown 1939 (gelatin silver). I am continually amazed by how dark the printing trend was at that time. There is a gorgeous city night scene in there by Stieglitz (photogravure), evocative pictures throughout, a really soft focus one by Imogen Cunningham I have never seen....

The exhibition was coordinated by Alison Nordstrom. Traveling exhibition. I saw the book first at a Borders I think it was so if you are close to a Borders or a Barnes and Noble, browse the book for sure--it is pricey as well--I think $60.

I can't remember the original question about the book, but hopefully I answered it, above...

Christina Z. Anderson