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Alvin Langdon Coburn: A Pioneer of American Pictorialism

When photography was imported to America thanks to British and French influences, it instantly became a hit. Get to know one of the fathers of American Pictorialism, Alvin Langdon Coburn.

Coburn's circumstances was as if he was meant to b a photographer, already related to his famous photographer F. Holland Day with considerable influence. Coburn was introduced to photography when his maternal uncles from Los Angeles gave him a 4x5 Kodak camera, and within a few years he became proficient and talented with the camera and in the darkroom.

By 1899, Coburn and his mother moved to London, and was introduced to the Royal Photographic Society for a selection of prints to be presented at an exhibition of American photographers. The 17-year-old was instantly a part of it, having been on of the first to use photography for abstraction.

He caught the attention of another photographer, Frederick Evans, who was one of the founders of the Linked Ring, an association of art photographers and were considered high authorities on photography aesthetics. Two years after, Coburn moved to Paris and was associated with Edward Steichen and Robert Demachy, studying under them. He continued to build his fame, most especially in his magnum opus "Men of Mark", a series of portraits of European and American authors, artists, statesmen, and icons -- Henri Matisse, Henry James, Auguste Rodin, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt and Yeats.

Unfortunately, Of what seemed like a glamorous life and career in phottography had him quit by 1930, even destroying almost 15,000 glass plates and film negatives (his entire life's output). Some, however, managed to survive, as he donated the rest to contemporary and historical archives.


Images are from Graphicine.

2017-09-04 #culture #pictorialism #american-photography #alvin-langdon-coburn

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