by Editor Wicher Bos
Recently I read a book of one of my favourites, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946). The book “Vision in Motion”, “presents a broad and general view of the interrelatedness of art and life.“ In this book Laszlo presents his view on
(a new education of) visual arts.
In the section about ‘Photography’ he mentions eight varieties of photographic vision. This appealed to me because of its logic and because it matches our “seeing” to a categorization of photography.
And… of course… my next idea was, are there examples of each of his classification items in the 1x gallery.
Well, this is what I found…
The bold items are Laszlo’s category, below each of them (indented) you see my findings…
Abstract seeing by means of direct records produced by light; the photogram which captures the most delicate gradations of light values, both chiaroscuro and colored.
I could not find a true Photogram, but for me, this ‘smoke’ gets close
Delicate gradations of light values
Abstract illusion of a spiral – not truly a direct record of light though, just beautiful
Exact seeing by means of camera records; reportage.
Rapid seeing by means of fixation of movements in the instantaneous snapshot, stroboscopic photography, an instantaneous photograph with rhythmical interruption of motion flow.
Mind the bullet...
Slow seeing by means of fixation of movements spread over a period of time, prolonged time exposures; e.g. The luminous tracks made by headlights of cars passing along a road at night; virtual volume.
Intensified seeing by means of:
* Macro and microphotography
* Filter photography which, by chemical variation of the sensitized surface, permits photographic potentialities to be augmented in various ways, ranging from the revelation of far-distant landscapes veiled in haze or fog to exposures in complete darkness-infrared photography.
Also a difficult category as it is hard to see if filters like a polarizer were applied but these infrared will at least give a good impression:
* Bird, frog and fisheye view.
Bird’s eye view:
Frog or bug’s eye view:
Penetrative seeing by means of x-rays; radiography
Couldn’t find a real X-ray either – no surprise – but to show some example, here is a well to known x-ray of a hand
Free stock image
However, this beauty is almost as good:
and should you be more interested in more true x-rays images, just google for photographer Nick Veasey to see some stunning x-ray art.
Simultaneous seeing by means of superimpositions; a process of automatic photomontage.
Distorted seeing – optical jokes that can be automatically produced by:
* Exposure through a lens fitted with prisms, of reflecting mirrors or the distograph.
If any one of you knows what the “distograph” actually was, I will be grateful.
(It can’t be the MacMillan distograph in my view, that would not make any sense.)
'I' by Oren Hayman
Mechanical and chemical manipulation of the negative during or after developing, using oil drops, suds, soaps, etc.; lighting, heating or freezing, resulting in distortion, reticulation, solarization, etc
In digital times the hit you get for Suds is this:
modern version of this approach: added texture and double exposures:
I hope you enjoyed the selection and although some elements of Laszlo’s categorization seem a bit outdated, (like the chemical manipulations), they presently have found a new shape in the digital era (in all kinds of software manipulations) – in my opinion.
I like to end this contribution with a quote from Lazlo
“The enemy of photography is the convention, the fixed rules of 'how to do.'
The salvation of photography comes from the experiment.” (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy)
As always, I just express my personal views and feelings… also in selecting these specific 1x iimages.
Let me know your favourite examples or if you disagree, why…
Your response is always appreciated!
Source: Vision in Motion – 1946 – Laszlo Moholy – Nagy (publisher Paul Theobald, Chicago)