Do you remember the first times you had a camera in your hand? A camera of your own or mommy’s and daddy’s one but which you had a free access to for a longer time? What kind of photos did you take? Pictures of yourself trying to catch an okay-one among the thousand of trashy ones? Pictures of friends smiling with perfect teeth? Paparazzi ones? Photos of landscapes? Still lifes? Trying to discover the makro world of the ugly little bugs and flowers? Trying to get a photo of the sun you normally cannot stare into? Playing with lights and shadows? Gooooood questions, huh?
There is this exhibiton at Szépművészeti Múzeum (Museom of Fine Arts) focused on the rise and fall of an early period of the history of photography, called Pictoralism, an international style and aesthetic movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Pictorialists did not want to bother with the fact that a photo has a documentary potential which makes it possible to catch pieces of the reality with its every little details. Instead of this they preferred to think about photos as paintings, and use the camera as a tool of artistic self-expression.
|Oscar Gustave Rejlander: Two ways of life, 1857|
So the Big Bang here is that the Pictorialist photography elevated photography to an artistic level. Soft lines, indistinct shapes, dream-like atmosphere. Subjective visions. The French photo guys liked to imitate the impressionist paintings, Austrians were good in romantic landscapes, British discovered the industrial ones, and Germans made portraits from a unique point of view.
|Hans Watzek: A White Sail, 1906|
Then here came the twentieth century, and the birth of the Modern Photography breaking radically with the painting-like presence and creating stronger contours and uncompromised, objective pictorial language. The exhibition shows us this important change in the history of photography by more than 200 works from these periods including their meeting point.
|André Kertész: The Fork, 1928|
Well, I know for sure you like the artistic effects of Instagram so deal with it and get up to check how the “ancient” pals were trying and playing with their oldschool methods!