My thoughts are a kaleidoscopic collection of shifting memories and images of this past holiday weekend, as I catch up. The turkey dinner with all the trimmings overlaid with many holiday meals. It sort of led me into the direction of experimenting and trying something new with abstract, overlaid photography composition. My blog post is about viewing things a little differently, a story about vortography.
Photography is an interesting art that combines innovation. There are always new kinds of cameras and tools that influence photography such as the move from film to digital, black and white to color. Photography also has the elements of design and science to it. Yet for all the photographic innovation, people still photograph historical ways in black and white, monochrome, with vintage cameras and in vortography. Vortography is an abstract view in photography through a type of photographic tool or editing process.
Vortography is photography composed into abstract images that evolved from Vorticism. Alvin Langdon Coburn was one of the leading photographers in this movement that in 1910 “sought to shed the romanticism of the pictorial movement and bring photography more in step with abstract painting and sculpture. He made photographs looking down from the tops of tall buildings to explore the use of flattened perspective and geometric patterning.
After experimenting with multiple exposures, Coburn in 1916 invented a kaleidoscope-like instrument with three mirrors clamped together, which when fitted over the lens of a camera would reflect and fracture the image. Pound dubbed the device a vortescope and the resulting photographs ‘Vortographs’.” Alvin Langdon Coburn, National Gallery of Art.
I’ve learned that vortography was and is still a popular method of photography. It creates images that combine elements of graphic design with photography to create, convey a different perspective.
Alvin Langdon Coburn Vortographs
Another American photographer involved in this movement was Alfred Stieglitz, significant other to the artist Georgia O’Keefe. Stieglitz was a well-known photographer is his own right. While Coburn seemed to favor urban, architectural images for his vortography; Stieglitz took inspiration from nature.
Alfred Stieglitz Photographs
I don’t have a vortescope, and so I achieved mine through the editing. I suppose there might be one for sale on the Internet somewhere.
My Nature Inspired Vortography
If you haven’t experimented with this type of photography and/or image editing, it is fun to try it–a new view of what you see before you. It’s a different take on it with a lot of angles.