PhotoshopNews.com
Aug 4, 2005

THE COMING WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY

In 1944 Nine Outstanding Personalities in the Field Express Their Views and Expectations of Postwar Photography

WILLARD D. MORGAN, ELLOT ELISOFON, BERNICE ABBOTT, C. B. NEBLETTE, PAUL STRAND, L. MOHOLY-NAGY, H.A. SCHUMACHER, JOHN S. ROWAN, Sgt. ARTHUR ROTHSTEIN

Photography spent its first hundred years slowly developing its mechanics, its lenses, cameras, emulsions, and lights. But war speeded progress will place the camera in the forefront of man’s technical devices when victory comes. To determine the new uses, new methods, new viewpoints that will give camera work its direction in the postwar period, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY has asked a trusted photographic editor, a war correspondent, documentary photographer; teachers of photography, manufacturers, and a soldier to contribute to this symposium. Their opinions differ. Yet somehow all seem to feel that the second hundred years will see the camera put to use as never before with the amateur often leading the way. THE EDITORS

Read the entire article
hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology

In particular, the view of L. Moholy-Nagy is telling:

INSOFAR AS our eyes are concerned photography imparts a heightened or increased power of sight in terms of time and space. It is a plain, matter-of-fact enumeration of specific elements and is purely technical, not artistic in itself. In itself it is not able to divine the power latent in these elements nor prognosticate whence they lead. The photographer of the future, however, will be able to do this of his own skill because he will know for what purpose these elements can be used.

At present photographers do not know their medium enough to use their medium. A writer knows how to write and a composer knows theory of music so that they can extend their arts beyond purely technical elements. But in the future the technique of photography will be so simplified and so widely taught and understood that the illiterate person will be the one who is not a photographer. Then, with mastery of the purely physical features of photography at his command, the photographer can go as far as his will of expression and his imagination will lead him. Even so, there will be good, better, and best.

Besides the creative mastery of the elements, black-and-white photography has nothing new to anticipate in the future. However, many possibilities discovered and explored earlier will come bloom.

But the real revolution will be in color. At present color photography is just a poor imitation of museum art, but a cheapened form of it: a repetition of the repetitions of the repetitions. But new forms, new techniques, combined with a complete understanding of life and society (which understanding is absolutely necessary to any artist) will create a new conception of color photography. Abstract rhythm of color and movement of light will give greater depth to a technique that is now too much in the state of an applied art. There must be organization of color to a purpose.

Without culture there is no photographer. Without understanding of man there is no photographer. There is just a clicker shutter snapper.

One wonders what Moholy-Nagy would have thought of Photoshop? It’s a worthy read to find out what these people thought of the future from the view of 1944.

One Response to “THE COMING WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY”

  1. Greg Miller Says:

    That’s quite a sharpening halo around Rothstein, eh? ;)

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