December 23, 2008
Courtesy of S2art at musings from the photographic memepool [the shallow end]. US photographers like Henry Holmes Smith (1909 -1986) and Frederick Sommer (1905-1999) stood in a tradition of camera-less photography. They gradually shifted their style to the more abstract and personal, to thinking of a photograph as a physical object in its own right, rather than solely as a reflection of the outside world.
Henry Holmes Smith, Light Abstraction,
This is the tradition of Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray who pioneered the creating of photographic prints without the use of a camera in the 1920s. In the late 1940s Henry Holmes Smith developed a technique of "liquid-and-light" drawing by carefully pouring a layer of thick, viscous corn syrup directly onto a sheet of 19th Century glass, forming the characteristic figurative elements of his clichés-verre.
The negatives were printed in contact on conventional sensitized photographic paper and developed by traditional methods in Smith's photo laboratory. A limited number of prints were thus made before the syrup was eventually scraped off.