I love discovering new artists! Alvin Langdon Coburn was the first major photographer to emphasize elevated viewpoints and later made some of the first completely abstract images. Born in Boston in 1882, he moved to Paris when he was 17 to study with famed photographer, Edward Steichen, and had his first one-man show in New York when he was 21. While he wound up relocating to London, the majority of his most famous photographs were taken in #nyc. But then, in 1916, a major shift happened. He became interested in Freemasonry, which led him to study mysticism, metaphysical ideals and Druidism. He began to re-examine his photographic style, creating abstract images that are among the first completely non-representative photographs ever made. To make them, Coburn invented a kaleidoscope-like instrument with three mirrors clamped together, which when fitted over the lens of the camera would reflect and fracture the image. He called them Vortographs ... Ok I have to just copy paste this description of it 😆 ... “it is a reference to the Vorticist group of British writers and painters. The fractured planes and complex space characteristic of vortography reflect the Vorticists’ as well as Coburn’s own interest in Cubism.” He only made 18 Vortographs over a period of one month, yet they remain among the most striking images in early 20th century photography. Freemasonry would eventually consume his life and he gave up photography for good. How crazy is that style shift?! Which one do you like better? 🤔.
📸 Alvin Langdon Coburn (all taken in NYC):
-The Octopus, 1912.
-House of a Thousand Windows, 1912.
-The Flatiron Building, 1910.
-Fifth Avenue from the St. Regis hotel, 1905.
-Vortographs taken in 1916. .
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