One of the first truly international artistic movements, Pictorialism arose in the late nineteenth century out of a desire to elevate photography to an art form equal to painting and drawing. Through photography clubs, exhibitions and journals, Pictorialism spread from Britain to Europe,Asia, Australia and North America. Adopting a soft-focus approach and utilizing dramatic lighting, unusual camera angles and bold technical experimentation, the Pictorialists created highly atmospheric compositions that opened up a new world of visual expression in photography. Like Impressionism, which upset the traditions of painting and to which it is often compared, Pictorialism continues to be highly influential more than a hundred years after it began.
TruthBeauty accompanies an ambitious international exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery gathering 140 photographs from public collections in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe, including 70 from George Eastman House, North America’s largest museum of photography. It traces the Pictorialist movement’s progression and its enduring impact on photography and art, through masterworks by such names as Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz. TruthBeauty also highlights the movement’s international scope by focussing on works from the Czech Republic, Japan and Australia. It includes essays by Alison Nordström, J. Luca Ackerman, Ryuichi Kaneko, Gael Newton and David Wooters.