Camera's Lens And Mind's Eye

Overview

This study contends that James McNeill Whistler was influenced by the advent of photography, and that his art can be interpreted through a "photographic lens" that incorporates knowledge of the imagery, techniques, and perceptions of his time. The artistic use of photographs in the nineteenth century is commonly understood to follow a model of employing source material drawn from a given photograph, yet the relationship between Whistler and photography is far more nuanced than that of copying motifs. Whistler's ...
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More About This Book

Overview

This study contends that James McNeill Whistler was influenced by the advent of photography, and that his art can be interpreted through a "photographic lens" that incorporates knowledge of the imagery, techniques, and perceptions of his time. The artistic use of photographs in the nineteenth century is commonly understood to follow a model of employing source material drawn from a given photograph, yet the relationship between Whistler and photography is far more nuanced than that of copying motifs. Whistler's art intersects with a variety of specific photographic practices, but he also had the more inherent characteristics of photographic materiality available for his emulation: how photographic images chemically appeared out of an emulsion. Chapter One positions Whistler within a photographic world, exploring how he interacted with photography, coming in contact with different processes, purposes, and practitioners during his career. Chapter Two examines Whistler's Nocturnes, which were the result of a lengthy process of experimentation with painting techniques, in relation to photographic materiality. This study argues that the inherent nature of photography itself can be seen as an important analogue to how Whistler painted his landscapes. Chapter Three explores how the photographic nature of Whistler's Nocturnes can be understood as a factor in Whistler's dispute with John Ruskin, using their attitudes toward photography as a springboard toward a larger discussion about the making and the interpretation of art. Chapter Four interprets Whistler's portraits in relation to spirit photography, encouraged by the knowledge of his Spiritualism, his subtle appropriation of photographic effects, and the critical rhetoric of ghostliness that surrounded his portraits. Chapter Five investigates a group of works that depict movement in light of Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion. These works engage with motion photography as well as societal concerns about gender and movement. The final chapter examines Whistler's influence on pictorialist photographers. They drew on his model in a number of ways, choosing processes that allowed for manipulation of the surface in Whistlerian ways. That they were so successful underscores the photographic qualities of Whistler's art, and the need to position Whistler at the intersections of art, science, and photography.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243861511
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.65 (d)

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