black and white split-toned photo of Taraxacum Officinale (common dandelion)

Taraxacum Officinale

This weekend I got a new lens. First thing you do when you get something like that is check if everything is functioning and take some test pictures. That’s exactly what I did: first I took some pictures of my girlfriend, then some flowers, a Japanese statuette and finally, this morning, some dandelions in my garden. The usual stuff…

I uploaded the results to my computer to do some pixel-peeping. The quality of the photos was very nice and, just for fun, I decided to do some post processing on this very ordinary dandelion picture. It turned out as a black and white picture, but not in my usual style. Usually I use a small aperture to get as much depth of field as possible, but here I used a larger aperture so only a very small “slice” of the flower is in focus. The purpose was to check if the lens focuses properly. Well, it does, and what’s more: I quite like the result. It reminds me of the work of the pictorialists at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century.

Pictorialism is the name given to an international style and aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no standard definition of the term, but in general it refers to a style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of “creating” an image rather than simply recording it. Typically, a pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus (some more so than others), is printed in one or more colors other than black-and-white (ranging from warm brown to deep blue) and may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer’s realm of imagination. (From Wikipedia: pictorialism)