Shadows of a Fleeting World: Pictorial Photography and the Seattle Camera Club

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Overview

Pictorialism emerged in the early twentieth century as a prominent style of fine art photography. Artists engaged in this style were interested in the effects of transient light and Japanese compositional elements. They developed innovative darkroom techniques to create unique soft-focus photographs that reflected contemporary painting styles. Historically, pictorial photography was narrowly defined by certain characteristics that gave an inaccurate assessment of its important contributions to the medium. Recent ...

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Overview

Pictorialism emerged in the early twentieth century as a prominent style of fine art photography. Artists engaged in this style were interested in the effects of transient light and Japanese compositional elements. They developed innovative darkroom techniques to create unique soft-focus photographs that reflected contemporary painting styles. Historically, pictorial photography was narrowly defined by certain characteristics that gave an inaccurate assessment of its important contributions to the medium. Recent rediscoveries from American regional camera clubs, including the Seattle Camera Club (SCC), reveal that the movement was broader and more individualist than previously thought.

Shadows of a Fleeting World provides a rare glimpse into the regional Pictorialist movement. It documents the lives and artistic accomplishments of the SCC photographers. The SCC was one of the most active and successful in the United States, and, fortunately, preservation of its works and history allow for a rich interpretation of its art. Japanese immigrants formed the club’s core, and their work routinely blended Pictorialist methods with Japanese aesthetic traditions. The Japanese-influenced Pictorialist works of the SCC made a unique contribution to the international art movement.

The book is generously illustrated with images and prints from SCC artists, many of which have never been published before.

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Their photographs of Northwest scenery, urban landscapes, and avant-garde artists, such as the dancer Martha Graham, are stunningly original in their use of abstract shapes, the juxtaposition of flat and deep space and subtle contrasts of light and dark." -Susan Platt, Cassone, April 2012
Cassone - Susan Platt
Their photographs of Northwest scenery, urban landscapes, and avant-garde artists, such as the dancer Martha Graham, are stunningly original in their use of abstract shapes, the juxtaposition of flat and deep space and subtle contrasts of light and dark.
Choice
Very little exists on this topic, which should be of particular interest to those in the Pacific Northwest and for collections strong in artistic photography. Excellent use of illustrations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295990859
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 1/19/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David F. Martin is an independent art historian and curator specializing in women and minority artists of the Pacific Northwest. Nicolette Bromberg is visual materials curator, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

University of Washington Press

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 10, 2012

    It was an absolute delight to read about the life and art of some amazing PNW photographers in the 1920's.

    In my mind, there are two camps of thought: those who believe your life is already mapped out for you and those who believe your life is carved out by the actions you take.

    I am not sure which one I believe more. What I do know is that my being gifted ‘Shadows of a Fleeting World’, written by David F. Martin and Nicolette Bromberg, has enriched my appreciation of art in a very beautiful and arresting way.

    The book describes how the Seattle Camera Club was formed and provides an insight into their lives long after the club disbanded. Thanks to the club’s members, their work helped pictorial photography become a recognised art form in the salons of that era, formerly only reserved for paintings. Indeed, in 1928, of the ten most displayed photographers globally, seven were SCC members

    Most important of all the book shows their work.

    By the time you finish reading ‘Shadows’ you not only feel you have viewed some truly wonderful photographs but that you have gained an insight into these artists’ lives and what they were trying to achieve.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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