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Exhibition: Artists' Visions Pictorial Photographs 1890-1960 / until 16 September 2018

A new exhibitions which examines pictorialism has opened at the museée Nicéphore Niépce and runs until 16 September 2018. Curated by Dr Julien Faure-Conorton Artists' Visions offers a new, broader, view of European pictorialist photography. The exhibition presents recent research and discoveries and is the first exhibition dedicated to pictorial photography in France for over a decade. 

Sourced in the collections of the musée Nicéphore Niépce that preserves works by Robert Demachy and Charles Lhermitte, as well as prints by Constant Puyo, José Ortiz-Echagüe and Alfred Fauvarque-Omez, the exhibition brings together over two-hundred vintage prints. They are the work of various authors, some well-known, others less so. Most of the prints are being shown for the very first time. They were created over a seventy-year period, from the early 1890s to the late 1950s, showing that pictorial photography did not disappear after the First World War, contrary to the established histories of photography would lead us to believe.

Offering an updated, broader vision of the pictorialist endeavour on a European scale, Artists’ Visions results from recent research and discoveries and is the first exhibition dedicated to pictorial photography for over a decade in France. This exhibition challenges the established narrative and offers a new history acknowledging the permanence of the pictorialist ideals. These ideals were built on a shared ambition: to create photographs that wanted to do more than simply reproduce the real, photographs that truly interpreted it, like an artist’s vision.

Pictorial photographers, in their quest to free photography from the simple function of documentary reproduction to which it had been reduced since its invention, strove to create images where personal feelings took precedence, images that expressed something poetic or dreamlike, that suggested more than they showed, producing, above all, an impression, aiming to provoke a feeling, an emotion in the viewer. To do so, pictorial photographers resorted to interpretation, meaning the intervention of the artist in the photographic process using various technical tools aimed at transforming the aesthetics of the image so that the original photograph (the negative) gave birth to an artistic picture (the exhibition print). At the turn of the 20th century, pictorial photography was extremely popular worldwide with thousands of followers who spread their works in ambitious international exhibitions and luxurious publications.

The exhibition is curated by photography historian Dr Julien Faure-Conorton in connection with Sylvain Besson at the musée Nicéphore Niépce.

A catalogue is available and can be had by emailing:

Musée Nicéphore Niépce
28 quai des messageries
71100 Chalon-sur-Saône
+33 [0]3 85 48 41 98

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Comment by Kelvin Jouhar on June 21, 2018 at 22:21

My grandfather, S.D.Jouhar (FRPS) defined a Pictorial photograph as :-

"mainly an aesthetic symbolic record of a scene plus the artist's personal comment and interpretation, capable of transmitting an emotional response to the mind of a receptive spectator. It should show originality, imagination, unity of purpose, a quality of repose, and have an infinite quality about it"

This definition appeared in The Royal Photographic Society Journal in August 1948.

I don't know whether any of his work is in the exhibition - but it should be... 

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