BA Phot

LP&E: Part 1 - Beauty and the Sublime

Preamble - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Asg.1 - Asg.2 - Asg.3 - Asg.4 - Asg.5 - Asg.6 - I&P - C&N - EyV -

[ spellchecked 24Oct ]

- Back - Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4

Project 1, Thinking about landscape - Exc 1.1 - Exc 1.2 - Project 1.2 Pictorialism - Exc 1.3 - Project 1.3 The Beautiful and the Sublime - Exc 1.4 - Exc 1.5 - Exc 1.6 - Conclusion - Upsum - Eval

Adams - Alexander - Atget - Brandt - Daguerre - Emerson - Fox Talbot - Le Gray - Rejlander - Robinson - Sear - Seawright - Stieglitz - Steichen - Thomson - Weston - White -

Capon - Crimp - Galassi - Krauss - Grundberg - Meades - Miller - Morley - Papageorge - Vanderbilt - Wilson -

gaze - sublime -

[21Sep21] I noted the following quotes on previous courses and I'll note them again.

At OCA we believe that your position or viewpoint is absolutely as valuable as the position of any author that you read; the only difference is that you probably won’t have fully discovered, or at least articulated, it yet. Your viewpoint is the source of your imagination and ideas but it can be quite a long journey to bring it into the light. Bloomfield, 2017 p.101

And from Sue Sontag, paraphrased by Ashley la Grange ,

photographs do not seem strongly bound by the intention of the photographer Sontag, On Photography, quoted in La Grange (2005) p.37

And Evelyn Waugh on the subject of degrees from  Brideshead Revisited, in a post from The Evelyn Waugh Society regarding the educational attainments of their hero,

I wonder if Brideshead Revisited offers a clue to the origins of this mystery. When Charles Ryder arrives at the university, he is firmly advised by his cousin Jasper: ‘You want either a first or a fourth. There is no value in anything between. Time spent on a good second is time thrown away.’ If Waugh did get a third, as Dr Thomas suggests, perhaps he didn’t want anyone to know. Manley, 2018 - The Evelyn Waugh Society

Project Page Started Complete
Preamble 4 6 Nov 6 Nov
1.1 Thinking about landscape 26 21Sep 24 Oct
1.2 Pictorialism 32 20 Oct 24 Oct
1.3 The beautiful and the sublime 42 23 Oct 1 Nov
1.1 Preconceptions 26 23 Sep 24 Sep
1.2. Museum & Gallery 31 27 Sep 29 Oct
1.3 Establishing conventions 34 30 Oct 31 Oct
1.4 Perspectives on the sublime 48 24 Oct 30 Oct
1.5 The contemporary abyss 50 24 Oct 6 Nov
1.6 Zone system 53 25 Oct 1 Nov
1. Beauty and the sublime 57 8 Nov  
Weston's Pepper No. 30, 1930 na 7 Nov 19 Jan

To begin

[21Sep21] I have applied for and been accepted on (I'm fairly certain) this course but I have not been invoiced yet. I am making a start using the available, unillustrated, course extract that runs from p.22 to p.57. Some backtracking may be required and there may have been some changes.

I had to apply for the course a while before I intended to because it is being discontinued (see here). I finished my C&N Final Assessment submission this morning and it will be in for the November session.

[6Nov] Chaseup sent 19th Oct; paid 25th Oct; cmat. access received 2nd Nov.

[not spellchecked  ]

Project 1: Thinking about landscape

[23Sep p.25] Part 1 begins, inevitably, with a rerun of the Official History of Photography, with particular reference to landscape and how it inherited centuries of developed painting tradition (subject, composition, format etc.). The orthodox history, largely the Story of Great Men (and the occasional woman, Anna Atkins, Julia Margaret Cameron) has been challenged, for example by:

A.D. Coleman (1998, p.108) who regards Beaumont Newhall's History of Photography (first published in 1949) as partial and overly selective but the book has nevertheless set the approach adopted by many subsequent chroniclers of the medium.

Bill Jay's statistical analysis of the number of professional female photographers active in the early years of the medium whose role is largely ignored (2001, pp.63-79). Jay notes, "[e]very historian must walk [a] tightrope between the wilful selection of facts in the direct service of a personal prejudice or a social cause and the notion that the inquirer should have no preconceived ideas, not even questions or working hypotheses".

Geoffrey Batchen raises two separate issues. In Burning with desire (1999) he questions the generally propounded history of photography's invention by expanding the net beyond the usual suspects of Fox Talbot, Daguerre, Niépce and Bayard.
And in his 2008 essay, Snapshots: Art History and the Ethnographic Turn, Batchen deplores the way vernacular photography was, at least until quite recently, excluded from photo-history.
In this context, Stephen Bull (2010, p.97) also mentions a 2000 essay by Douglas R. Nickel, Vernacular photographies that is worth tracking down.

Now back to the cmat.

Exercise 1.1 Preconceptions

Write 300 words that explore what the term ‘landscape’ means to you.

This is shown on another page.

Early Photography and Painting

[24Sep p.26] A quote from Clark (1997, p.55) states that landscape photography remains entrenched in the corresponding painting traditions of C18th and 19th. And that is where our quest begins.

We canter through Fox Talbot's camera lucida motivation (see Part 1 Page 4); Niépce and Daguerre, noting that daguerreotypes are single-copy works which ameliorates Delaroche's "painting is dead". In I&P Part 1, we observed that,

"In his essay Ectoplasm: Photography on the Digital Age (1999, pp.9-23) Geoffrey Bachen casts doubt on the Delaroche quote, saying that there is 'no substantial evidence' for it having been said and pointing out that Delaroche was an early and strong supporter of the use of photography as an aid in painting." I&P Part 1

to be fair, the cmat nuances Delaroche and notes that painters from Monet to Hockney have used photography.

To Atget, to my mind a hardworking jobbing photographer who merits attention but not that lavished on him by Szarkowski - Berenice Abbott had a job-lot to sell to the MoMA at just the right time when Szarkowski was stoking the monetisation of photo-artistry and all the cards fell just right for Atget to become A Name. See also Exc. 1.2.

Edward Weston said of Atget (1971, p.62),

Atget was a great documentary photographer but is misclassed as anything else. The emotion derived from his work is largely that of connotations from subject matter. I have a deep respect for Atget: he did a certain work well. I am doing something quite different. Weston, 1971, p.62)

We are referred to Krauss' Photography's Discursive Spaces and Papageorge's Core Curriculum. The Krauss essay is Exercise 2 (p.31) and I have a copy of the Papageorge on its way, so although I have read and made notes on the former, I will defer consideration for a couple of pages.

[p.30] The cmat states that the placing of photojournalism and plundered archives on gallery walls is the current concern but at its inception it was the mechanical nature of the medium that was argued as the reason for excluding photography from the Fine Arts. Its value was seen to lie in science, journalism and any function requiring visual documentation. Even now, some institutions remain reluctant to embrace the medium.

I have been interested in the ebb and flow of the is it art debate since starting the course. Here's the current page on the matter. My latest thoughts were noted in the Blog yesterday,

My conclusion to that point [during I&P] rested on Salkeld's, — if photographs are displayed in institutional galleries and sold in commercial galleries and auction houses, then they are de facto art and any intellectual tugs-of-war are moot.

There is another point to be made though and this arrived with a reading of Douglas Crimp's 1981 essay published in Bolton (1992, pp.3-12), see link.

A precondition for photography to become gallery art is that some of the photographers themselves become known, named artists and that is what Szarkowski was working towards at MoMA.

Exercise 1.2

[27Sep] Summarise Krauss's essay, Photography’s Discursive Spaces and Papageorge's response.

This is shown on a separate page.


[23Oct] There is a tension between the standard histories of photography that, following the lead of Beaumont Newhall characterise it as the work of a series of Great Men (and a few Women), and alternative voices that take a wider view incorporating the worldwide vernacular and other expressions of the media.

LP&E 1.1

LP&E Part 1 References

Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Andrews, M. (1999) Landscape and western art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Batchen, G. (1999) Burning with desire. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Batchen, G. (2008) Snapshots: Art History and the Ethnographic Turn. Photographies. Vol. 1 no. 2, pp. 121-42.

Beil, K. (2020) Good pictures. Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press.

Bloomfield, R (2017) Expressing your vision [EyV]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Boothroyd, S (2017) Context and narrative [C&N]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Boothroyd, S. and Roberts, K. (2019) Identity and place [I&P]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Bull, S. (2010) Photography. Abingdon,Oxon: Routledge.

Capon, E. (2009) I blame Duchamp. Australia: Lantern (Penguin).

Clarke, G. (1997) The photograph. Oxford: OUP.

Coleman, A.D. (1979) Light Readings. NY: OUP.

Coleman, A.D. (1998) Depth of field. NY: Midmarch Arts Press.

Ellman, M. (1994) Freud and the Sublime: A Catastrophe Theory of Creativity. London: Routledge.

Fox Talbot, W.H. (1844-46) The pencil of nature. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans. Cited in Thompson, J.L. (2016) Why photography matters. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

The Friends of Photography (1986) EW:100, Centennial Essays in Honour of Edward Weston. Carmel, CA.: The Friends of Photography.

Gardner, M. (2007) Is Beauty Truth and Truth Beauty? [online]. Available from [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Kelsey, R (2015) Photography and the art of chance. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Lassam, R. (1979) Fox Talbot, Photographer. Wimborne, Dorset: Dovecote Press.

Meades, J. (2021) Pedro and Ricky come again. London: Unbound.

Miller, S. (2020) Contemporary Photography and Theory. London: Bloomsbury.

Mitchell, WJT, (ed) Landscape and Power (2nd ed) (2002) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Morley, S. (2010) Staring into the contemporary abyss, The contemporary sublime [online]. Available from [Accessed 24 October 2021].

Newman, B. (1949) The Sublime is Now [online]. Available from [Accessed 27 October 2021].

Papageorge, T, (2015) Core curriculum, writings on photography. NY: Aperture.

Thompson, J.L. (2016) Why photography matters. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Wells, L (2011), Land Matters : Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity. London: Taylor and Francis. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Weston, E. (1971) The Flame of Recognition. New York: Aperture

Page created 21-Sep-2021 | Page updated 06-Nov-2022