Monday, February 20, 2012

TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945

TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945 edited by Alison Nordström

Release Date
: November 2011
Pages: 160
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Source: Publisher
Buy It: Book Depository
This book contains reproductions of 121 photographs, tracing the evolution of Pictorialism over the three decades in which it predominated. It includes photographs by artists from North America, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Japan and Australia, and includes scholarly essays on Pictorialism as well as a selection of historic texts by Pictorialist artists.
First of all, for anyone with interest in the beginnings of photography, and especially the unique approach of Pictorialism, TruthBeauty is a must have. It's filled with absolutely breathtaking photographs complimented by interesting essays on the Pictorialism and photography. There's enough background information on the movement and style that it's easy to understand, and the gorgeous of the photos includes are all the more incredible considering the technology used to produce them. It would also make a fantastic coffee table type book because the text, although interesting, isn't necessary to appreciate the photos.

Wapping by Alvin Langdon Coburn
appears on cover of TruthBeauty
The internet does not do justice to the beauty of the photos contained within TruthBeauty, and though I have never seen the originals in person, the thick glossy prints included in the book come at least a little bit closer. I loved how many of the photos took up an entire page, to be honest when I'm reading an art book, I may be interested in the text, but when it comes to the art I want to be able to fully appreciate it and the large image size was much-appreciated.

Overall, an excellent book, I was left with only one lingering disappointment from TruthBeauty, and that is despite being put out by the Vancouver gallery, and printed by a Canadian publisher, there were sections in the books detected to other small countries like Australia and Czech, but nothing on Canada. But even though I hoped for some more national pride, I could not have hoped for more out of what TruthBeauty did include, and I think it would be a great addition to any photography lover's collection.

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