Pictorialism is an form of photography whose subject matter, many would say, varied greatly. In its true meaning anything that put the finished picture first and the subject second was pictorialism. Any photograph that stressed atmosphere or viewpoint rather than the subject would come under this category. By the second half of the nineteenth century the idea of capturing images was beginning to wear off, and some people were beginning to question whether the camera, as it was then being used, was too accurate and too detailed in what it captured, they did not see the art in the technique. This, added to the fact that painting had a much higher status than this new process, caused some photographers to bring forth new techniques which, as they saw it, made photography more of an art form. In effect, the term Pictorialism is used to describe photographs in which the actual scene that is displayed is of a lesser importance than the artistic quality of the image. Pictorialists were more concerned with the emotional impact of the image, instead of what actually was in front of their camera. Examples of this at the time very new approach include combination printing, the use of focus, the manipulation of the negative, and the use of techniques such as gum bichromate, which was used to lessen the detail and create more “artistic” looking images.
The photographers that helped bring pictorialism up to its current status include Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secessionists, Edward Steichen, Gertrude Kasebier, Clarence White, Fredrick Evans, Robert Demachy, and of course Peter Henry Emerson. All these individuals were producing pictorialistic images and ideas, to put forth while fighting for the independent recognition of their medium of art. Pictorial photographers considered themselves serious amateurs, motivated by true artistic force rather than making a financial advance. In Europe they formed salons and clubs like The Linked Ring Brotherhood, The Royal...
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