Who is Alvin Langdon Coburn?
Coburn was an American-born British photographer and the maker of the first completely nonobjective photographs. He began to take photos on his eighth birthday when he got his first camera. he never met the photographer Edward Steichen until 1898, that is when Coburn became a serious photographer. That year he has contributed to two very important exhibitions. Coburn then opened a studio in New York City to exhibit his prints in 1902, that is the year that he was elected to the newly formed Photo Secession, which was a group of American photographers whose aims were much of a similarity of those of the linked ring. There is more information here.
What was he known for?
Coburn was known for nonobjective photographs which is abstract and very experimental work. He used this to create very unusual and creepy photographs, he has many photographs called: "The Octopus," created in 1912, "Theodore Roosevelt," in 1907, "Grand Canyon," in 1911, "House of a Thousand Windows," in 1912, "Pittsburg Smoke Stacks," in 1910 and "Vortograph," ca. in 1917. Some of which are shown below \/
House of a Thousand Windows, 1912
What process is Coburn known for?
The process for which Coburn is known for the printing process and had spent many years creating his own inks and had been trying out different grades of paper for the best effect for his images. His technique also involved by changing the perspective of a scene by pointing the camera downwards that created an image that was more abstract and had no horizon. The painter James McNeil Whistler's "nocturnes" influenced Coburn, as that can be seen in Coburn's early cityscapes and his pictorial images.
In 1916 Coburn was urging other photographers to experiment with their photography, saying: "What would our grandfathers have said of the work of Matisse, Stravinsky, and Gertrude Stein? If we are alive to the spirit of our time, it is these moderns who interest us… why should not the camera also throw off the shackles of conventional representation and attempt something fresh and untried? Why should not its subtle rapidity be utilized to study movement? Why not repeated successive exposures of an object in motion on the same plate? Why should not perspective be studied from angles hitherto neglected or unobserved? Think of the joys of doing something which it would be impossible to classify, or to tell which was the top and which the bottom?" took from here.
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