Even Ansel Adams Had a Blind Spot
Andy Romanoff

“Blind spot”? That is silly. Group f.64 was a revolt against pictorialism. That was their target.

Pictorialists had a stranglehold on the definition of photographic art and beauty. The revolution overthrew magazine editors and gallery owners. I don’t think the purge was that hard, though, because pictorialism was rotting at the core. It had become stilted, rigid, and exclusive. If it had been a vigorous, thriving art movement, it would have survived beside Group f.26, Bauhaus, and all the other anti-romantic movements.

Pictorialism did produce lovely work. I’m not fond of Mortensen, because his work always feels cold and calculated, like Karsh portraits.

Anne Brigman is my favorite pictorialist. I would love to have one of her works.

It is interesting to look at artists who did both pictorialist and “straight” photography, like Gertrude Käsebier and Imogen Cunningham.

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