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William Mortensen: Monsters and Madonnas

Erotica // Monday, 25 Aug 2014
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Born in 1897, William Mortensen is known best for his Hollywood portraits shot from the 1920s to the 1940s. Mortensen championed the newly budding Pictorial style of photography, retouching his images with various chemicals in order to achieve a painterly result. Published in 1936, Mortensen's book entitled Monsters and Madonnas was a manifesto of his thoughts, proclaiming his appreciation for both manipulated and pure photographs.  Mortensen saw photography as a dualistic creative expression but others disagreed. The title of this book reflects the scientific "Threat of the Machine" as The Monster and  The Madonna as "a symbol of fruitfulness and growth, of life and creative energy." What do you think?

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