Sunday, September 4, 2016

REVOLUTIONARY VISION: CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHERS AT THE AUTRY MUSEUM

Flooded Marina (Gas Pumps), Salton Sea, California
RICHARD MISRACH, 1983
© RICHARD MISRACH

This week's arts and culture column is on an Autry Museum exhibit of California landscape photographers, both "old" and new.

The piece begins like this:

The Autry Museum of the American West, across from the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park, has a pleasant, if slightly airbrushed, pioneer-era feel. The site has a courtyard, a café, a theater and a store that sells Pendleton blankets, turquoise jewelry and books with titles such as “Kodachrome Memory” and “The American Dog at Home.”

Through Jan. 8, 2017, the museum is featuring a compelling exhibit of California photographers called “Revolutionary Vision: Group f/64 and Richard Misrach Photographs from the Bank of America Collection.”

At its formation on Nov. 15, 1932, in San Francisco, Group f/64 was comprised of 11 photographers, five of whom — Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Brett Weston and Willard van Dyke — are included in “Revolutionary Vision.” The name of the group — f/64 — refers to the smallest available aperture in large-format view cameras at the time, which made for exceptionally clear, crisp images with great depth of field. Breaking with the “Pictorialism” that held sway in Western photography at the time, Group f/64 asserted that the camera has more clarity — and less prejudice — than the human eye.

Founding member Edward Weston (1886-1958) issued something of a group manifesto: “The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.”


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.



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