“PHOTOGRAPHY IN PURE STATE”
Around the world of photography there has been always a big passion to defend different opinions in different subjects. One of the most controversial ones is Purism vs Retouching. In one current photographers defend working with photographic tools, respecting the image that the camera captures and basing the effort to encourage the knowledge and the photographer resources, against another digital retouching current, with alteration of the image without limit and without mentioning or identifying the process in which the image has been submitted.Nowadays we contemplate together images that haven´t suffered any alteration since their capture by the camera with others that have been manipulated or even fully digitally created without any photographic process. This fact is confusing for visual creators and for viewers, apart from the different value that can lead the creation process or the manage of the equipment, of the mastery in the use of some or other tools.Lots of photographers and visual artists,replica uhren many people tha turn up as audience to these art samples, would support the necessity for an identification of processes, and the way that the work was created. would support the need for an identification of processes, to know how a work was created. This would avoid scandals in public opinion, as many of those happened recently and in the past by well known authors.We live in a time of an indiscriminating use of photography in all levels where knowing if a picture has been or not processed give us a lot of information about his/her author, her/his positions, his/her way of thinking, how she/he understands this art, how he/she looks for the maestry or the results he/she obtaines.
MANIFEST FEP- PHOTOGRAPHY IN PURE STATE
We declare us as photographers and because of this, we choose using photographic tools, that allow us working with light instead of pixels. Photos must be finished in the camera, end them in the moment we close the shutter and not after.The final image must be faithful to the one captured by the camera, allowing slight adjustments of image processing that not affects partially. We admit under the name of processing or develop adjustments, those tha affect to the photo as a whole and don´t alter its essence, like the slight white balance adjustment, sharpness or saturation. We understand as image retouching, making partial modifications, such as layers, drafts, or adding or deleting elements of the image, altering its essence.The subscribers of this manifest wish to promote the photography mastering, look for the excellence of authors and allow new discoveries and advances in the photography technique, as it has happened with advances in long exposure photography, night photography, use of moving filters, use spy glass on hides, etc., by purist photographers.The limitations of the own photography must be overcome innovating with tools that allow us the work with light, supposing big differentes in the capture processing to similar results got by computer media through the use of retouching programs. For example, the process of taking by photographic media supose the risk of losing, and not getting an optimal result. By computer media you can always undo the action and trying a new one without any kind of risk. Merit, skill, to equal results, can not be the same.We respect personal positions of any author with respect to his work, to the retouching, manipulation and different ways of visual creation, but we also ask for respect for purism in maintaining the result obtained in the RAW file and the establishment of different names for the different processes employed. The image with retouching or manipulation must be identify to allow thisdifferentiation. If it is not in this way, the image to be identified will be made by photographic processes as image “Only RAW” or “FEP, Fotografía en Estado Puro” (Photography in pure state), indicating that it has not been altered or retouched.Our position aims to promote the photography developmet and advance, the pursuit of excellence by these methods and the learning based in the light features and behavior, as well as mastery of purely photographic techniques.
Initial signers of this manifesto:
-Chema López (Redasturcon)
-Senén L. Cadenas
-José B. Ruiz
Juan Anders Lemos Hoffen
Rosana Pita Aneiros
Antoni Cladera Barceló
Amador Nogueiro Hevia
Mario Suarez Porras
Pablo Sánchez Sánchez
Pablo Bou Mira
García de Marina
Fidel Cantos Silgado
Francisco Javier Suarez Mariño
Carlos Larios Chaves
Cesar Fernández Pérez (Casona)
Pedro Javier Pascual Hernández
Óscar J. González
Luis Manuel Iglesias Núñez
Ana Retamero Olmos
Miguel Ángel Artus Illana
Andoni Lamborena Barreras
Rubén Pérez Novo
Javier Parrilla Pérez
Jonathan Díaz Marbá
Antonio Atienza Fuerte
BACKGROUND IN PURISM
STRAIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY. Second decade of the twentieth century.
The main precedents of the purist current respect to the image captured by the camera are the Straight Photography current, internationally followed by a big number of photographers in the second decade of the twentieth century and where the main precursor is Paul Strand.
Paul Strand was the main precursor of «direct photography» or «pure photography», with Alfred Stieglitz and other photographer of the «Photo-Secession» and the “ 291 Gallery».
Lewis Hine´s pupil, he visited with his class the famous Gallery 291, where he met the work of great pictorialist photographers. At that time the photography tried in its aesthetic way to imitate the painting.
Alfred Stieglitz commented once to Paul Strand his impressions about his work, at a time when himself was in transition from pictorialism to a more photographic aesthetic. Paul listened his review attentively and experiment a deep change that would affect the aesthetics and thematic of his work. Strand would begin to mature compositively his work, to proclaim the purism in the capture, to promote that photographer was formed and knew how to manage photographic tools.
Paul Stand brought together a sample of his new work to show en the Gallery 291 creating a big expectation, especially in Stieglitz y Steichen, who admired and shared those «brutally direct» images.
Stieglitz wrote: “Strand has a clear and precise style, without concessions to the smoothness of sharpness or transformations to the logic of pure practice in the processing and printing phases of the negative. It was a counter-revolution: the refusing of any way of manipulation in favor of a ‘direct photography’ as the only way of using this medium … «
Strand stars the begginig of a whole current of photography that goes from the pictorialist to the «pure», to the direct,until the photography without retouching or artifices, as it gets out the camera.
In a notice of one exposure from Strand´s work, Charles H Caffin presents it like this:
“The negative has not been manipulated or modified anything in any part of the process between the shutter release and the copy setting. «
Camera Work publishes Strand Photographies in its two last numbers. Alfred Stieglitz shows the photographies of his disciple: “The work is brutally direct, devoid of flourishes, lacking of lies and of all «ism»;it lacks the intention of disconcerting to an ignorant audiene, including the own photographers. These photographs are the direct expression of the present.
Strand’s direct photography advocated the absence of manipulation that «became an article of faith among the first modernist photographers, above all in the United States.»
There are innumerable big names influenced by the work of Strand, particularly Ansel Adams, who decided to change his future after visiting a Strand exhibition.
By the middle of the century Photo Leaguet was founded, which allowed any kind of photographers, such as established amateurs or established professionals, and where the most prominent American photographers would participate. Once the Photo League was consolidated had names as: Berenice Abbott, Eliot Elisofon, Morris Engel, Sid Grossman, Lewis W. Hine, Lisette Model, Beaumont Newhall, Arnold Newman, Ruth Orkin, Arthur Rothstein, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, John Vachon among many others. In 1947 the Photo League school had already trained more than one thousand photographers.
In 1971 the editors of Time Life explained “ the task of the Photo League is to place the camera again in the hands of honest photographers, who will use it to photograph America
Strand made a lot of contributions to the history of photography, especially to dignify the proper language of photography with its peculiar aesthetic from the direct taking, without any alteration of the captured image by the camera. It also showed a peculiar ethics, shaping the lower social classes with dignity and a big concern for composition. Its principles had repercussions in several European countries, it was an international current.
Link to Paul Strand’s letter to students of photography.
(Special mention to Óscar Colorado Nates, Professor / Researcher of the Advanced Photography Cathedra at the Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City.
Numerous authors have supported the purism in Spain and continue doing ot nowadays. One of the most influential ones has been José B. Ruiz, one of the first promoters of the Only RAW current since it emerges and who has practiced the purist principles for decades, in a time when the digital revolution brought the retuching image without measure.The dissemination of this teacher reached more than five million Spanish-speaking photographers through his programmes on the internet, books that have been best-sellers of photography in Spain, courses and presentations. In a national and international context we can talk about a “school”, of a current of purist photographers who have learned with his method and the way of understanding the photography world. Currently in Spain there is a surprisingly high number of purist photographers compared to other European countries and in international levels.The way of teaching of José Benito Ruiz looks for the mastery of photography, the creation of a mental image and to be able able to shape it with photographic media, seeking to overcome the difficulties and shortcomings of the medium with the knowledge, formation and creativity of the photographer. The image showed to the audience must be faithful to the one captured by the camera, allowing slight adjustments of image processing that do not affect partially.In pratice, this autor has tried to demostrate his principles in the most important and purist international contests, being a very awarded photographer in all the ones he has been presented. He got (among others), a double prize to Photographic Innovation in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and a category prize in 2003, as well as the first Magnificent Wilderness prize in the Glanzlichter contest and the silver medal of the German Federation of Photography in 2007, shortly before stopping and dedicating to practice as a specialized international jury.The autor has collaborated as jury and has shown his work for collectives such as Fepfi (Spanish Federation of Photographic and Image Professionals), CEF (Spanish Confederation of Photography) spreading his well-known purist positions about retouching.This author claims to recover the credibility of photographies, the audience respect for the photographer merit, the admiration for the pioneers and true teachers of photography, those who looked for the achievement of the knowledge of the media and purely photographic processes during all their lives.
ONLY RAW. 2008.
In 2008 emerges a new current in Italy called ONLY RAW in favor of the photography without retouching and with the request that prestigious international contests ask for the original file RAW of camera to verify what the camera captured and what the photographer did later in postprocessing or retouching.The photographer Oriol Alamany still keeps an entry in his blog about the Only Raw manifest, which is the only information that can be found about it (http://blog.alamany.com/2008/03/iniciativa-only-raw.html ).“ A group of Italian nature photographers has started a controversial initiative that consists of asking the organizers of the most important nature photography constests to limit the presence of clearly manipulated photographs in these competitions…The promoters of ONLY RAW have been kind enough to include me in the initial group of contacted photographers and I have decided to sign the proposal. Personally I have nothing against the people that manipulate their photographs (although I do not do that) as long as they clearly indicate it, something that rarely happens. A clear example we have in some of the widely manipulated images or authentic montages of some well-known photographers like Steve Bloom. Or removing annoying branches, cleaning the birds beaks, or removing or adding parts of the animals by Arthur Morris, who at least usually writes on his web what he has put or removed … Some well- known photographers as Norbert Rosing, José B. Ruiz, Pete Oxfrod o Peter Lilja and entities like International League of Conservation Photographers have already joined this iniciative.It has been a decade since the promulgation in Italy of the Manifest ONLY RAW and nowadays most of the prestige contests, agencies and aditorial media s ask for the RAW file in order to check the processes .
PHOTOGRAPHY IN PURE STATE. Since 2014.
In Asturias, Spain, appears a group of photographers headed by Chema López Velasco (Redasturcon) y Senén L. Cadenas both following closely the teachings of José B.Ruiz and together decided to create a page in Facebook for identifying in a clearly way the images from their members as “purists”. The page is called “Fotografía en estado puro” (Photography in pure state) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/photographyinternetpure/ ) and in mid-2017 it had almost 3.000 members.Two years later it was created the Asociación Fotografía Estado Puro (AFEP) (the Photography in pure state Association which began with more than fifty associates from Asturias (http://www.afep.es ), admitted since its foundation as the second association of Spain in the IFWP (International Federation of Nature Photographers).Both linked iniciatives show the concern of a big sector for this lack of identification in the processes and results, besides they claim and are promoters and representatives.In a photographic panorama where the retouching of the image is predominant, from the nature photography sector has emerged several iniciatives claiming the pure state of the photography, being this one of the latest, but more influential and well set out. The photographers are claiming for the process of obtaining the shot as a fundamental part and closely linked to the result, the commitment of the author and their merit.