In a manifesto entitled The Future of Pictorial Photography, published in 1916, Alvin Langdon Coburn asked the following:

“. . .why should not the camera throw off the shackles of conventional representation and attempt something fresh and untried? Why, I ask you earnestly, need we go on making commonplace little exposures of subjects that may be sorted into groups of landscapes, portraits, and figure studies? Think of the joy of doing something which it would be impossible to classify, or to tell which was the top and which the bottom!”


Coburn’s entreaties had developed as a response to the mass uptake of photography that had occurred between the final decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth, thanks to advances in technology; cameras such as Kodak’s Box Brownie, and the advent of celluloid, had helped to meet an ever-rising popular demand for the means

This article appeared in 198 on April 2017. Buy here

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