Friday, May 21, 2010

The Lens of Impressionism

Today I had a "Lone Katie Adventure" and really enjoyed it. I took the train to the DMA and saw "The Lens of Impressionism." For some reason it felt so more adventurous taking the train than if I just drove there. And it was so easy I was able to spend that hour reading, people watching and seeing the handful of lovely views there are between Fort Worth and Dallas.

As for the exhibit, I really enjoyed the photographs and the demonstrations of the different photo processes in the 19th century. It seemed like the exhibit spent most of it's space proving how similar the composition of the photos and the paintings of the time were. I found this to be a bit unremarkable given that the exhibit pointed out that many early photographers were failed painters who looked up to the painters at the time. Their sensibilities were the same, it makes sense that, in a resort beach town, both painters and photographers would choose to capture tourists and the remarkable landscapes of the area.

What I had hoped to see more of was evidence that the effects of the limitations of early photography directly influenced the impressionist painters. The exhibit did touch on this some, and I found it amazing. Due to slow shutter speeds, everything that was moving in the early photographs were blurry, giving the photographs the illusion of impressionist paintings. Monet was so influenced by a photograph with waving flags, and how they almost disappeared from the photo, that he simulated the effect in one of his paintings, actually leaving visible, primed canvas between unblended brush strokes.

I haven't yet researched if the impressionist movement was already underway when photography began to be experimented with, but as someone who LOVES both photography and impressionism, I would love to find that there is a definite link between the evolution of the two.

P.S. - We weren't allowed to take photos of the exhibit, and my dull mind doesn't remember the name of the photographers, so I don't have any examples. I snuck this photo.

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