Playing with light, chemicals, exposures, and framing, the artists in this gallery investigated the experimental qualities of photography and film during the period following World War II. Many of them featured in international publications and shows—including at MoMA—that celebrated photography’s capacity for abstraction and expressive innovation. One such platform was Subjektive Fotografie (Subjective Photography), an influential touring exhibition series initiated by self-taught photographer Otto Steinert in Germany in the 1950s. The artists represented hailed from Germany, Brazil, Japan, Sweden, and the United States, among other places. Aiming to capture what Steinert called “the visual experience of [the] times,” these artists rejected “commonplace and merely ‘beautiful’ pictures . . . in favor of experiments and fresh solutions,” and explored a wide range of photographic approaches and processes.
Organized by Quentin Bajac, Chief Curator, and Sarah Meister, Curator, with River Bullock, Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.