Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: glass globe used by Clarence H White

  1. #1
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,487

    glass globe used by Clarence H White

    I like history but don't know much about the victorian era he seemed to be part of, so any guess on my part might be missing some important context. I'll ask here instead. The glass globes he used in many photos.. Is there any sort of meaning to them? I do know other photography of the era is rich is metaphors related to mythology and religion; I seriously doubt these women are inspired by atlas. I think it's a nice compositional element, but don't know exactly why it was used.



    If I remember correctly, Newhall seemed to like the globe and window screen photo better than the much nicer portraits, but it seems to have even less context or meaning.

    White liked circles in general, is the globe just part of an interest in the compositional element of circles?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Kalamazoo
    Posts
    648

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    Might it have something to do with the sphere being a perfect form?

    Anne Brigman liked them too:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	141509.jpg 
Views:	109 
Size:	63.0 KB 
ID:	77149

  3. #3
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    5,107

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    The glass sphere had a long history in art before photography came along:

    Da Vinci:


    Vermeer:


    van Everdingen:


    Early on, glass spheres were generally used in religious imagery, (in his 1636 book on Christian emblems, Emblemata sacra de fide, spe, charitate, Jesuit Willem Hesiuswrote "the sphere's ability to reflect the world is similar to the mind's ability to believe in God". Crystal balls were a big part of the Christian occult and Gnostic Christianity. During the Victorian era they became part of the general interest in the occult.

    From an artist's point of view, the spheres were probably an interesting challenge to paint, and impressive if you could pull it off convincingly. In photography, they weren't so much of a technical problem, but still quite lovely to look at, and the long history behind them fit nicely with the pictorialists' desire to fit into art history.

    They're still pretty fun to photograph...

    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,487

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    The glass sphere had a long history in art before photography came along:

    From an artist's point of view, the spheres were probably an interesting challenge to paint, and impressive if you could pull it off convincingly.
    Thanks Mark for the additional background. I'd noticed them in art prior, but figured it was a technical challenge/gimmick related to the development of portraying 3d perspective.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Williamstown, MA
    Posts
    51

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    Pictorialists doing a "Charley the tuna".

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Hamilton, Canada
    Posts
    1,368

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    I read some where, where I cannot find now, that the position of the ball in the photograph referred to whethter you were in favour with Stieglitz or not
    Perhaps some one was here
    http://aha.confex.com/aha/2011/webpr...Paper6540.html
    or knows how to ask Verna Posever Curtis about it.
    Bill
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
    Posts
    9,712

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Whitman View Post
    Pictorialists doing a "Charley the tuna".
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,487

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    The glass sphere had a long history in art before photography came along:

    Da Vinci:
    This is a solid and straightforward example of the globe representing the earth... Especially as it is titled Salvator Mundi. However, Christ had a unique reason and purpose in the world that isn't directly transferrable to other portrait subjects. Religious use, in mainstream Christianity, of the globe (as the earth) with a cross was well established at this point, long before we learned as little kids that Christopher Columbus supposedly proved the world wasn't flat by his effort to sail around to the other side.

    The Verna Posever Curtis summary looks interesting. I can't find anything more of it at amazon or google books and nothing on her wordpress site.

  9. #9
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,487

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/co...03-06-08.shtml says some interesting ideas... I can understand a portrait subject wanting to emulate iconography.

    Finally, this came in from Kevin Bjorke, in response to my puzzlement over the glass globes that sometimes appear in pictorialist photographs:


    Dear Mike,

    The glass globe is an iconic reference to Dutch portraiture of the 1500s and 1600s, in which reference to the new optics industry indicated an interest in things new and scientific. It also indicated an interest in similar issues by the portraitist, a fact which has been construed by some (most famously David Hockney) to suggest that artists around this time accepted optical tools into their workshops, which in turn led to the strong explosion of "realistic" painting at that time (spreading from Holland to the rest of Europe).

    Also, the globe had powerful social significance, because it indicated that the power of being iconified yourself — of being the subject of a portrait — was moving away from the ultra-powerful church and state authorities (saints, kings, and nobles of various sorts) and into the sphere of growing economic power — a connection to the optics industry usually meant a connection with telescope, navigation, commerce, shipping, and money. So we see it as an emblem of the rise of the merchant class.

    The pictorialists (most infamously William Mortenson) just picked up all of the trappings left behind by those older traditions. Whether they were really aware of the meaning of such trappings is left open to question. But to a degree, they did — they were attempting, as the earlier painters had, to imbue their subjects (and themselves) with an illusory connection to power and substance.

    — KEVIN BJORKE

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
    Posts
    9,712

    Re: glass globe used by Clarence H White

    Hmmm, I learned (if I remember correctly that far back) that it was Magellan's crew, circumnavigating the globe, that proved the earth was round. 1520 something. Prior to that it was a theory originating with the Greeks-Pythagorus maybe IMS.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    This is a solid and straightforward example of the globe representing the earth... Especially as it is titled Salvator Mundi. However, Christ had a unique reason and purpose in the world that isn't directly transferrable to other portrait subjects. Religious use, in mainstream Christianity, of the globe (as the earth) with a cross was well established at this point, long before we learned as little kids that Christopher Columbus supposedly proved the world wasn't flat by his effort to sail around to the other side.

    The Verna Posever Curtis summary looks interesting. I can't find anything more of it at amazon or google books and nothing on her wordpress site.
    Last edited by Kirk Gittings; 14-Jul-2012 at 13:28.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

Similar Threads

  1. Older Mole 407 bulb/globe ?
    By John Conway in forum Gear
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 24-Mar-2012, 14:07
  2. Clarence Bull Photographing Gable/Leigh
    By r.e. in forum On Photography
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Oct-2011, 16:19
  3. What's good about those globe lenses?
    By tuant in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 30-May-2011, 15:56

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •