-During the early 1900s photographers were beginning to really push out the boundaries of the technologies and they sought to work to a “Pictorial Style”, soft out-of-focus areas, misty muted tones, concentration on the ‘feel’ of the moment rather than the subject. All sorts of add-on techniques were used to get just the right ‘experience’. —Sound familiar? anyone who has downloaded Presets for Lightroom, Photoshop or added a Topaz or Nik filter will recognise the style. Nothing new under the sun.
At the other extreme of creative work were clubs of photographers seeking a more realistic style. One such group was an American Group of 7 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston. They formed a group called “f/64″, named of course for the greater depth of field and enhanced sharpness. Now there is more to this than just a few lines here will bring, because at the back of it all was a political movement or action for change, going on. Part of their manifesto included: ” … the battle against the tide of oppressive pictorialism” (What@!!)
f/64 and other similar US based groups had a marketing strength and became quite well known. Not so well known were similar groups in Australia. One was the Sydney Camera Circle, establishing the “Sunshine Circle”. One of its members was Harold Cazenaux, and part if its manifesto included, “…to work and to advance pictorial photography and to show our own Australia in terms of sunlight rather than those of greyness and dismal shadows…” The rest of the story is for you to consult the Google University.
Here are a couple of links
And no doubt there are more.
One of his most enduring or endearing or defining photographs was made in the Flinders Ranges, near Wilpena Pound.
It was titled, “Spirit of Endurance” and features an old large River Red Gum on the edge of a dry creek bed, with the Pound in the background.
BirdLife Werribee, formerly Werribee Wagtails, conduct a number of quarterly bird counts in several area, on one of the properties stands a large Red Gum, and when I first spied it, I immediately thought of Harold Cazenaux’s photograph. Here is a link to an online copy of his image. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/134.1975/
And note that all the shots usually shown these days on the web do not seem to have the same perspective as Harold’s original. The Answer: He flipped the negative during printing.
I’ve walked past my stately gum a few times over the years, and each time, promising to bring out the right lens and be there on the right light to give the tree the majesty and presence it needs, to depict its stand against the forces of nature.
Now, I do not in anyway expect my poor humble image of a tree to even cause a dent in the majesty of Harold’s grand moment. However it is true that we stand on the shoulders of Giants.
We had a morning out on the farm, Mr An Onymous, The award winning Chris, he of Eyenesbury fame and a BirdLife representative, and while the others strolled around and discussed bird counting details, I went down to my “Cazenaux Tree’ armed with the 70-200 Zoom, and managed a fair to happy composition. I had tried wideangle, but it doesn’t give the power of the tree in balanced perspective.
Had I made this on the reliable old Linhoff Super Tecnika, 5×4 inch, I’d have used an Ilford FP3 emulsion, deep yellow filter, slow development in diluted D.23 developer and would have printed the resulting soft negative on a wonderful Kodak paper called “Royal Bromesko”. But.
I shot it on the D7100 and ran it through Nik Silver Efex Pro, and added a slight yellow/brown for the same effect.
Capturing the tree, in terms of our own Australian Sunlight.