Cleveland, OH (September 16, 2015) Pictorialist Photography was the first concerted, widespread effort to release photography from the constraints of mechanical reproduction and elevate it to the status of fine art. Unique programming highlights this exhibition of American Pictorialist work and explores the themes of personal expression. Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photography in America is on view in the Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz Photography Gallery now through January 17, 2016.
Writing Workshop: Creating Poetry from Shadows and Dreams
Saturday, October 3, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Explore personal expression through poetry in this all-day writing workshop. Taking inspiration from the new exhibition Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photography in America, participants will choose a photograph from the exhibition to use as their focus for the day’s writing. Writing prompts will be given and drafts of poems will be created. Revisions, thorough workshopping, and one-on-one time with the instructor will help refine each participant’s work toward a finished poem. At the end of the day, participants will revisit the exhibition, where participants will have an opportunity to share their poem in front of their selected photograph. Led by Ginny Taylor, MFA, certified journal instructor and creative writing instructor at Hiram College. $45/$35 CMA members. Advance registration required.
Curator Tour: Exploring the Land of Shadows and Dreams
Wednesday, October 14, 6:00 p.m., free
Join the co-curators of Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photography in America, Dr. Andrea Wolk Rager, Case Western Reserve University, and Dr. Barbara Tannenbaum, the museum’s curator of photography, as they discuss the first major movement to release photography from the constraints of mechanical reproduction and elevate it into the realm of personal expression and the status of fine art. Learn about the inspirations and motivations that led amateur and professional photographers to devise new techniques that allowed them to craft, rather than snap, a picture. Meet at the atrium desk.
“Records of Atmosphere and Effect”: The Photographs of Alvin Langdon Coburn
Wednesday, December 9, 7:00 p.m., free
A child prodigy, Alvin Langdon Coburn was given his first camera at age eight and began publicly exhibiting his photographs in 1898 at only fifteen years old. He soon became a leading figure of the international Pictorialist movement, heralded by Alfred Stieglitz as “possibly the youngest star in the firmament.” Coburn spent much of his career crisscrossing the Atlantic between New York and London, capturing both cities at a time of dramatic change. His photographs attest not only to his dual national identity, but also to the aesthetic tensions within the Pictorialist movement, divided between old and new, the nostalgic and the modern. Andrea Wolk Rager, assistant professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University, will explore the full scope of Coburn’s career, as he sought to prove the aesthetic merit of photography and boldly challenge the conventional understanding of photographic representation. Free, no registration required.
About Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photography in America
Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photgraphy in America highlights work from this turn-of-the-twentieth-century international movement. The exhibition features work by photographers who also experimented with new print media, freely manipulating both negative and print to construct elegant and distinctive compositions.
“Responding to the rapid expansion of cheap, commercial photography and the advent of the amateur 'snapshooter,' the Pictorialists conceived of the medium as one of imagination rather than reportage,” said Barbara Tannenbaum, curator of photography. Andrea Wolk Rager, assistant professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University, explained that by “emphasizing the hand and eye of the artist, its practitioners derived their inspiration from painting and drawing. In search of new ways to express artistic creativity through the camera, they either sought out new visions in the natural world or staged idyllic scenes.”
At the heart of the exhibition is a large group of prints by Clarence H. White, a leading Pictorialist who lived and photographed in Newark, Ohio, 1893–1906. These images were donated to the museum by the children of Julia McCune Flory, one of his favorite models, including his work prints—rare documents that expose the artist’s imaginative thought process to realize the composition.
The show also features works by Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Weston, and Karl Struss as well as a number of Ohio artists including Margaret Bourke-White and Jane Reece.
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