Pure Photography: Colors of a Fleeting Movement

Established in 1932, the Pure Photography movement boasted a palette with a maximum of two colors. Pure photography was defined as being completely free of any other artistic movement. That meant it had to be free of qualities of technique, composition, and objective. Due to its strict requirements, the possible body of work was severely limited. That’s why the visual poet Geof Huth calls Pure Photography “one of the shortest artistic movements of all time.” As it is such a narrow school of art, Huth was able to complete all the possible works of the genre in a single day. He explains: “A black & white photograph might look like it is made out of grays, but it is made out of bits of black organized on the surface of a white sheet, so in its purest form it is either all black or all white.”

Black_photo photographers_white

photo by DitB
by waffler

Huth’s technique was simple: “The black photograph must be exposed to uncontrolled light, so I turned on the lights in the darkroom, exposed the paper & then developed the photograph. The white photograph must never be exposed to light; it is fixed so that it never changes from its white beginnings. I framed one of these photographs in a bright metal frame, but I don’t know where it is anymore.”

Here are some colors and palettes from the COLOURlovers library reminiscent of the short-lived Pure Photography movement.

instant_photo over_exposure

grandmothers_photo photoalbum

Black and White Black and white

Black and White 2 High Contrast Love

Cover by Breno Peck.

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Website: http://www.OneLetterWords.com
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

Author: Prof. Oddfellow