Using the photographic picture for realizing an artistic vision as precisely and creatively as in painting or drawing was the lifetime objective of Heinrich Kühn, a central founding father of international art photography around 1900. Thanks to him and his friends, the stylized photograph became as much an element of the Secessionists efforts for a gesamtkunstwerk as the art of interior design, clothes, or commercial art. The most important method for Kühns purposes was a printing process based on gum bichromate: as it granted complete freedom in the choice of paper and pigments, the prints from the photographic negative resembled charcoal drawings or etchings rather than conventional photographs. Contrasts of brightness could be precisely adapted to the idea Kühn had of a picture, and its sharpness, which was regarded as extraneous to art, reduced at will.
Ed. by Monika Faber,
ISBN 978-3-7757-2568-2, 29.00