THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM PARKER LITTLE, 1885 -1933
Reprinted from the original 4x5 glass negatives by photographer/teacher Kent Bowser. All work shown is for sale as fine prints, contact Paul Hooge.
In 1993 this work was rescued from a dumpster at the suggestion of an auctioneer. Almost 3000 negatives, over 600 vintage prints, and dozens of autochromes were saved. Paul Hooge purchased the collection, kept it intact and has since been studying the materials. A few years ago he persuaded the Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, (Little's home town) to have a retrospective showing of the work. Just follow the links to see more of William Little's work and to read the text by Paul Hooge.
text by Paul Hooge
During the last half of the 19th century, a movement to recognize photography as an art form was started in Europe. The introduction of the "snap shot" camera and mass photography created a circumstance in which the serious amateur and avocational photographers wanted to distance themselves from this mass photography and to clearly establish "artistic" photography as a separate and distinct aesthetic medium. Thus pictorialism was born.
The roots of pictorialism can be found in painting. Photography borrowed heavily from this rich resource to establish a foundation on which it could grow. The influence of the Barbizon school and impressionism are clearly seen in the pictorialist photographs of the late 19th and early 20th century. Important aesthetic elements of pictorialism include: control of composition and tone, expressive and suggestive qualities, softening or blurring of outlines, the suppression of detail and the overall incorporation of an atmospheric quality. These photographs are frequently sentimentalized Victorian depiction of rustic landscapes and Arcadian pastoral scenes.
The period from 1890 to 1917 is often referred to as the age of pictorialism. At the forefront of this artistic movement was Alfred Stieglitz and the members of the photo-secession. The Photo-secession was founded in February of 1902 and can be credited with establishing a firm link between the fine art community and artistic photography. The photo-secession represents an elite but very small group of individuals who had separated themselves from the rest of the photographic community and consequently the majority of the pictorialist amateurs. Although seldom credited, it was the amateurs in American photography that provided the technical and aesthetic advances that made the photo-secession's work possible and even significant. Amateurs like William Little kept pictorialism alive in America until the 1940's.
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