British photographic history

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Exhibition: Vintage Fine Art Photography, by S D Jouhar FRPS FPSA / London: 28th Sept to 25th Oct

On display from 28th Sept till 25th Oct at The Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall will be 23 examples of SD Jouhar’s Fine Art Photography, all taken between approx. 1940 and 1960.

SD Jouhar was a strong advocate of Photography as a “Fine Art”, and there was considerable resistance to this idea amongst the “establishment” at the RPS during the 1950’s.  In 1961, SD Jouhar  and other like-minded photographers founded the Photographic Fine Art Association . Their definition of Fine Art was......

Creating images that evoke emotion by a photographic process in which one's mind and imagination are freely but competently exercised. From a technical point of view, therefore, personally controlled, disciplined interpretation and technical execution, showing fine perception and skill in the making shall be necessary requirements of such work in colour or monochrome.

The Photographic Fine Art Association held an exhibition at The Royal Festival Hall in November 1961. In his opening speech at the exhibition SD Jouhar said : 

“People must be conditioned to recognizing photography as Fine Art. That is what I am trying to establish"

"Nowhere, to my knowledge, has there ever been an exhibition showing photography as a Fine Art in this country"

You can judge for yourself whether the images on display fit your idea of “Fine Art Photography” if you get an opportunity to visit the exhibition.

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Comment by Kelvin Jouhar on September 30, 2018 at 19:13

5 of the colour pictures on display at the exhibition were created by SD Jouhar with a technique involving polarised light and pieces of plastic, cellophane and various other objects. He began his work with polarised light in the late 1950's (once colour enlarging was available to him), commencing with photomicrographs of crystals deposited on glass plates - which showed brilliant yellow, blue and brown hues in spiky, swirling patterns.

He then experimented with other materials which would create colour on polarisation and, using a set-up which involved several glass levels and a downward pointing camera, he had an ideal system for 'playing with light'.

He found that pieces of colourless or sometimes coloured cellophane provided a versatile medium for the creation of a wide range of interesting and often beautiful images.

For example, 'Seraph' (the picture in the centre) was created from cellophane, mechanical bits, and pieces of nylon thread. The Photographic Society of America Journal of April 1963 featured his article titled 'Creating with Polarized Light' (29, 21-24)  

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