Straight Photography And Pictorialism

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Explore how the portrayal of emotion and atmosphere differs between Straight Photography and Pictorialism

Straight photography is the based on the idea of creating images that accurately portray the reality of the world by faithfully depicting what is in front of the camera lens without manipulating the image in any way. Straight photography encourages experimentation with the limits of the camera itself as opposed to manipulating the image with a brush after it has been printed. In contrast to this, Pictorialism is a style of photography where the photographer manipulates the image in some way so as to move away from the idea of “automated drawing” and turn photography into a ‘hands on’ process like other branches of art. Whilst pictorialism
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The seductive qualities of the dreamlike world that is portrayed through the affected images serve to ensure that that photographs provoke the photographer’s emotional intent into the viewers imagination. The images themselves seem to exist beyond reality and so do not constrain the meaning of the image to the possible. One of the important ideas behind the rise of pictorialism was the belief that whilst straight photography could accurately represent an image, it was merely a depiction of reality without any artistic interpretation or meaning and so lacked artistic merit. Pictorialism was developed so that photography would be seen as a branch of art. Pictorial style images use specific techniques, such as smearing vaseline on the camera lens, in order to show the emotion in the image. An example of this is “The Black Bowl” by George Seeley. Seeley’s most famous image demonstrates how soft focus was often used in order to create a hazy and mysterious atmosphere, so as to make the mood of the images romantic. This can clearly be seen in the way Seeley has composed the photograph so as to capture the contrast between the reflection of light off of the vase and the headdress and the dimly lit surroundings. Combined with the expression of peacefulness depicted on the woman’s face creates an …show more content…
I then expanded this idea by introducing the more modern photographic concept of using coloured gels in photography so as to either further emphasis the emotions conveyed by the model or in order to contrast the emotions conveyed but the model and so cause the viewer to question the atmosphere of the

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