Photography: Introductory Readings [1970]

from my teaching notes for Experimental Studios during the 70’s [73-82]

–PICTORIALISM VS. EARLY MODERNISM: Henry Peach Robinson, O.G. Rejlander, P.H. Emerson, Stieglitz, and Steichen. [Art Photography: Another Aspect,” by Naomi Rosenblum]
–PURISM. PAUL STRAND, PRECISIONISM AND ED WESTON AND F/64 GROUP. [“Art Photography: Another Aspect,” by Naomi Rosenblum, in xerox packet, “Alfred Stieglitz and Pictorial Photography,” by Jonathan Green and “Conspicuous by his absence” by A.D. Coleman.]

–THREE TYPES OF MODERNISMS. Franz Roh & Moholy-Nagy, Rodchenko, Heartfield, German photography in 1920s. [“Art, Photography, and Modernism,” by Naomi Rosenblum.]

–SUBJECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY I. Photography in Post-WWII Europe and its ramifications for American photography. The theories of Dr. Otto Steinert and his categories of photo- graphic praxis. Early precursors: Herbert Bayer, Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray. The ideology of subjective photography: formalists vs. socially aware. The New Brutalism in England: Nigel Henderson [“On the Creative Possibilities of Photography” by Otto Steinert and “A Separate Reality: Subjective Photography” by James Hugunin.]

–SUBJECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY II. The importance of the publication Aperture and Minor White’s theories of “reading” photographs. Discussion of the work of Fred Sommer, Aaron Siskind, Henry Holmes-Smith, Harry Callahan. The development of the notion of the “equivalent.” [“Equivalence: The Perennial Trend” by Minor White, and two short essays by Aaron Siskind and in Xerox of American Photography by Jonathan Green, chapter three and four.]

–Robert Frank’s The Americans. comparison of three different readings of Frank’s book: Jonathan Green’s, John Brumfield’s and Jno Cook’s critique of Brumfield. [American Photography by Jonathan Green, chapter five and “Robert Frank and Photography,” by Jno Cook and “Some Reflections on Time and Change in the Work of Robert Frank,” by Shelly Rice.]

–THE NEW DOCUMENT. The theories of John Szarkowski: The Photographer’s Eye, Mirrors & Windows, and Peter Galassi’s Before Photography. Szarkowski’s synthesis of Steichen’s documentarianism and Minor White’s expressionism. [American Photography by Jonathan Green, chapter six, seven and excerpt from “The Rhetoric of the Pose” by Henry Sayre, and “Figments from the Real World: Garry Winogrand,” by Frank Joseph.]