Pictorialism

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Pictorialism was the dominant tendency in photography during the early stages of its establishment in the second half of the 19th century. In an effort to establish this new, technical medium as a fine art form, practitioners of the pictorialist approach sought to make their photographs look artistic through the use of “painterly” techniques like soft focus, staged or stylized scenes, or the manipulation of negatives or prints. Encouraged by Henry Peach Robinson's Pictorial Effect in Photography, first published in 1869, this artistic style was pursued throughout the U.S., Europe, and Latin America by photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Robinson himself, and later groups such as Alfred Stieglitz's Photo-Secession, founded in New York in 1902. Beginning around 1910, this style largely gave way to the “straight” approach of Modernist Photography.

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