Informalisation Through the Lens: Black & White and the Development of Photography as Art
This chapter traces the development of photography as an art form in Europe and the United States from the end of the nineteenth century, focusing on the prominent role of black & white in fine art photography. I outline four phases in the development of photography as an art, from a period of informalisation at the end of the nineteenth century, which briefly gave way to a formalisation phase during the beginning and middle of the twentieth century when photography gained a degree of autonomy and emancipation from painting and sculpture. From the 1960s a broader wave of informalisation saw the integration of photography into the art establishment that drew colour image-making into fine art photography. Ironically, the rising fortunes of colour served to crystallise the role of monochrome. Today, it endures as one of the several options available in the toolbox of photographic artists, and for many of them, it is a creatively definitive choice that serves to enhance their quest for authenticity in artistic expression.
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