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viernes, 8 de octubre de 2010

*WILLIAM MORTENSEN* (USA,1897-1965)






William Mortensen es uno de los olvidados de la historia de la fotografía, durante los 20 y los años 40 retrató a los famosos de Hollywood, con una manera pictórica y elegante. Luego pasa a una tradición gótica y romántica, su estilo es una extraña combinación de Lorenzo de Bernini, Edgar Allan Poe, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí y Maxfield Parrish. La mayoría de sus negativos faltan, o están en paradero desconocido. También dejó algunas notas o cartas... Interesante artista para conocer...








William Mortensen (USA, 1897-1965). While it is often true that a great artist never lives to see his ship come in, the opposite was true of Mortensen: In the late 1920s through early 1940s, his star was ascending, seemingly without end. Based in Laguna Beach, California, he was photographer to many of Hollywood's most famous, working with such acclaimed figures as Fay Wray, Cecil B. deMille and Marlene Dietrich. While his "pictorialist" style of photography -- painterly and posh, relying on soft-focus and darkroom knowhow to produce luxuriously toned and finished prints -- was favoured by the stars, clearly Mortensen found himself on the wrong side of history when it came to fine arts photography. The new "purist" movement, which celebrated the "straight," unadorned, print and a more documentarian style, was afoot and found no place for the Gothic-inspired Mortensen.
Except that's not quite the way it happened. For the f/64 group, spearheaded by Ansel Adams and Beaumont and Nancy Newhall (curators with the Museum of Modern Art), it was not enough merely to disagree philosophically with Mortensen. Had they done so, it would have been unlikely that Mortensen would have been forgotten and ignored so during his own lifetime and after his death, for he was something more than just another painterly salon photographer: His compositions were steeped in Gothic and Romantic traditions, his subject matter often whimsical, often bizarre, his style a strange combination of Lorenzo de Bernini, Edgar Allan Poe, Man Ray, Salvador Dali and Maxfield Parrish.
In his essay, "Beyond Recall," photographer A.D. Coleman -- who is quite sympathetic to the Adams aesthetic -- presents a scathing indictment of Adams and the Newhalls, and their active campaign to completely shut out Mortensen from the elite artistic inner circles. Although he never said so, it is evident from reading these essays that Mortensen died a broken man. Even after Mortensen's death, "Saint Ansel" Adams tried to prevent Mortensen's work from being archived at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Fortunately, for posterity, curator James Enyeart (who, though a friend of Adams) remained objective, and was instrumental in finding a permanent home for Mortensen's artistic legacy.
Sadly, little remains of his artistic output: Most of Mortensen's negaives are missing, whereabouts unknown. He also left few notes or letters. No conclusions can be drawn, but it is strongly suggested that by the time he died Mortensen felt so irrelevant to the history of photography that he never bothered to leave much behind.




































































































































































































































Book: William Mortensen: A Revival (Archive)

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*ETIQUETAS*

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