Saturday, May 13, 2017

William Mortensen (1897-1965)

William Mortensen - Self Portrait of 
William Mortensen and Courtney Crawofrd, 1926
Self Portrait of William Mortensen and Courtney Crawford, 1926

It is an honor to share with you the following works by the great William Mortensen.  Many of the following images have not been shown publicly before and were taken from the original prints exclusively for Monster Brains by Stephen Romano. Also included here are original masks designed by Mortensen that were photographed by Stephen from his personal collection.  He has provided a wealth of incredibly high resolution and beautiful copies of many of William Mortensen's greatest works that I share with you below, enjoy.

William Mortensen - Ho Ho Off To The Sabboth, 1926Ho Ho Off To The Sabboth, 1926

William Mortensen - A Tantric Priest,1930A Tantric Priest, 1930

William Mortensen - LAmour, 1930L'amour, 1930

William Mortensen - The Incubus, 1924 - 26The Incubus, 1924 - 26

William Mortensen - Belphegor, 1930Belphegor, 1930

William Mortensen - The Vampires Retribution, 1928The Vampire's Retribution, 1928

William Mortensen - Preperation For The Sabbot, 1930Preperation For The Sabbot, 1930

William Mortensen - The_Old Hag, 1928The Old Hag, 1928

William Mortensen - The Worship of Isis, The Moon Goddess, 1924The Worship of Isis, The Moon Goddess, 1924

William Mortensen - The Spanish Main, 1932The Spanish Main, 1932

William Mortensen - A Spider TortureA Spider Torture

William Mortensen - Beelzebub, 1926Beelzebub, 1926

William Mortensen - Jezebel, 1924Jezebel, 1924

William Mortensen - The Old Hag With Incubus, 1928The Old Hag With Incubus, 1928

William Mortensen - The Old Hag With Skull, 1926The Old Hag With Skull, 1926

William Mortensen -  FearFear

William Mortensen - The Initiation Of A Young Witch, 1928The Initiation Of A Young Witch, 1928

William Mortensen - Human Relations, 1932Human Relations, 1932

William Mortensen - In Missa Interfectionis, 1928In Missa Interfectionis, 1928

William Mortensen - Salome, 1926Salome, 1926

William Mortensen - Sappho, 1926Sappho, 1926

William Mortensen - Masked Nude with Skull, 1926Masked Nude with Skull, 1926

William Mortensen - The Shrapnel, 1928The Shrapnel, 1928

William Mortensen - Caprice Vanois,1926Caprice Vanois, 1926

William Mortensen - Witch On Broom, 1928Witch On Broom, 1928

William Mortensen -  Untitled c. 1924Untitled, 1924

William Mortensen - Masked Woman, 1926Masked Woman, 1926

William Mortensen - Female CrucifixionFemale Crucifixion

William Mortensen - Male FemaleMale Female

William Mortensen - Nude With Small DemonNude With Small Demon

William Mortensen - Courtney with Masks, 1926Courtney with Masks, 1926

William Mortensen - Courtney Crawford with Masks, 1924Courtney Crawford with Masks, 1924

William Mortensen - Courtney Crawford with Masks, 1926Courtney Crawford with Masks, 1926

William Mortensen - Ghoul MaskGhoul Mask

William Mortensen - Face MaskFace Mask

William Mortensen - Gorilla MaskGorilla Mask

William Mortensen - Demon MaskDemon Mask

William Mortensen - Imp MaskImp Mask

William Mortensen - Faye Wray MaskFaye Wray Mask

William Mortensen - Skull MaskSkull Mask


"Mortensen began his photographic career taking portraits of Hollywood actors and film stills. In 1931 he moved to the artist community of Laguna Beach, California, where he opened a studio and the William Mortensen School of Photography.

He preferred the pictorialism style of manipulating photographs to produce romanticist painting-like effects. The style brought him criticism from straight photographers of the modern realist movement and, in particular, he carried on a prolonged written debate with Ansel Adams.

His arguments defending romanticist photography led him to be "ostracized from most authoritative canons of photographic history." In an essay, Larry Lytle wrote, "Due to his approach—both technically and philosophically in opposition to straight or purist adherents — he is amongst the most problematic figures in photography in the twentieth-century... historians and critics have described his images as "...anecdotal, highly sentimental, mildly erotic hand-colored prints...", "...bowdlerized versions of garage calendar pin-ups and sadomasochist entertainments...", "...contrived set-ups and sappy facial expressions...", and Ansel Adams variously referred to Mortensen as the "Devil", and "the anti-Christ." In addition, the more realistic photojournalism emerging from World War II correspondents, and carried in national news magazines, caused Mortensen's more posed and contrived photos to fade from the public mind. He was largely forgotten by the time of his death in 1965." - quote source


"Mortensen’s methods often made it hard to distinguish whether the results were photographs or not. He used traditional printmaking techniques, such as bromoiling, and developed many of his own. He would create composite images, scratch, scrape and draw on his prints, then apply a texture that made them look like etchings, thereby disguising his manipulations. Consequently, every print was unique. Ultimately, Mortensen’s aim was to create something that, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be a photograph, yet portrayed scenes so fantastic they caused wonder and astonishment in the viewer." - quote source


Several masks seen in Mortensen's photographs were used in the Todd Browning directed silent film "West of Zanzibar" starring Lon Chaney from 1928. The film can be viewed in its entirety at archive.org


William Mortensen - Portrait of Fay Wray, 1921-22Portrait of Fay Wray, 1921-22


"In the 1920s, Mortensen was living in Utah when he met Fay and her older sister, Willow. When the girls moved to Los Angeles, he accompanied them as Fay’s chaperon and Willow’s fiance. However, on the train ride to California, he spoke of his romantic feelings toward Fay, saying he was more interested in her than Willow. Fay later admitted, ” I felt odd, as old as a fourteen-year-old could feel. I felt happy that he admired me; I felt guilty that he did. The train rushed on and my face felt hot. I stared at the pattern in the combing jacket. To hear that he had not cared for my sister, as my mother had said, made me feel awful, even though I liked hearing what he had to say about me. I was feeling an appreciation of myself beyond what I had ever felt; at the same time, it was terribly uncomfortable to feel so old.”

While in Hollywood, Mortensen rented the Wetzel studio on a Sunday, where he spent a couple of hours taking photos of Fay in various dresses. On a separate occasion, he took her to the beach where he shot risque photos of her barely wearing any clothing at all.

As one might expect, Mortensen and Willow’s “relationship” didn’t last. Fay’s mother, Elvina, became convinced that Mortensen had sexually abused Fay. After settling in Los Angeles, Elvina demanded to see all of the glass plates he had taken of her daughter. Mortensen complied and Elvina began shattering all of them (except this one which was somehow overlooked). Years later, Faye claimed that there was no sexual abuse at all, though she admitted that on one occasion, he “ran his hand over my dress, feeling the shape of my breasts.”" - quote and image taken from the Bizarre Los Angeles tumblr.



A documentary on Mortensen titled "Monsters and Madonnas" was shared by Stephen Romano on Vimeo below..


monstersandmadonnas from stephen romano on Vimeo.



Stephen Romano has collected and curated a fantastic collection of William Mortensen's works in recent years, you can find them at www.whmortensen.com

I end this post with a quote from Stephen Romano that perfectly summarizes the artist..

"Mortensen was a master, master at lighting, master at printing, master at posing the model.  Most of all he was a visionary who understood that the camera has it's limits, and not to be enslaved by those limits but rather to invent one's own technique to perpetuate the artist's vision."

Feral House recently published a book on William Mortensen titled "AMERICAN GROTESQUE The Life and Art of William Mortensen" available directly from Feral House here.

You can also find a book on William Mortensen titled "The Command To Look, A Master Photographer’s Method for Controlling the Human Gaze" from Feral House.
 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Der Wahre Jacob (1884–1933)

Otto Emil Lau - How the carbon dioxide in the Ruhr district is concerned about the common good, 1904Otto Emil Lau - How the carbon dioxide in the Ruhr district is concerned about the common good, 1904

Unsigned - The Terror of Europe, 1916Unsigned - The Terror of Europe, 1916

Emil Erk - The Peace Dove, 1902Emil Erk - The Peace Dove, 1902

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - From the good neighbor, 1905Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - From the good neighbor, 1905

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Council of the Devil, 1899Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Council of the Devil, 1899

A. Mrawek - Father's Dreams, 1909A. Mrawek - Father's Dreams, 1909

Unsigned - The German Fleet Lindwurm, 1906Unsigned - The German Fleet Lindwurm, 1906

Maximilian Vanselow - First May, 1909Maximilian Vanselow - First May, 1909

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - Tsar Nicholas in the Wolf Gorge, 1917Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - Tsar Nicholas in the Wolf Gorge, 1917

Unsigned - Ein Spuk am hellen, lichten Tage, 1900Unsigned - Ein Spuk am hellen, lichten Tage, 1900

Unsigned - The national liberal monster in submarine Germany, 1906Unsigned - The national liberal monster in submarine Germany, 1906

Unsigned - A Radical For The Cultural World, 1899Unsigned - A Radical For The Cultural World, 1899

Willy Lehmann-Schramm -  Reichsdeutscher Mummenschaz, 1910Willy Lehmann-Schramm - Reichsdeutscher Mummenschaz, 1910

Unsigned - The Modern Oedipus,1913Unsigned - The Modern Oedipus,1913

Georg Kretzschmar - The New Diogenes, 1923Georg Kretzschmar - The New Diogenes, 1923

Unsigned - The National Liberal Witch Kitchen, 1894Unsigned - The National Liberal Witch Kitchen, 1894

Willy Lehmann-Schramm -  New Comet Formations in the Political Sky,1909Willy Lehmann-Schramm - New Comet Formations in the Political Sky,1909

Unsigned - The Farmers And The Stock Exchange, 1897Unsigned - The Farmers And The Stock Exchange, 1897

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - Beautiful souls find themselves, 1899Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - Beautiful souls find themselves, 1899

Arthur Krüger - The Easter Egg, 1915Arthur Krüger - The Easter Egg, 1915

Otto Emil Lau - Satan's Compassion, 1904Otto Emil Lau - Satan's Compassion, 1904

Willi Steinert  - Happy New Year!, 1914Willi Steinert - Happy New Year!, 1914

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Raid, 1900Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Raid, 1900

Arthur Krüger - Die Drachentöter, 1920Arthur Krüger - Die Drachentöter, 1920

Unsigned, After Arnold Bocklin - Geisterspuk on the castle square, 1907Unsigned, After Arnold Bocklin - Geisterspuk on the castle square, 1907
 Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Dragon Of Discord, 1916Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Dragon Of Discord, 1916
 Unsigned - Zentrumsdemagogen, 1902Unsigned - Zentrumsdemagogen, 1902

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - John Bulls Höllenfahrt, 1902Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - John Bulls Höllenfahrt, 1902

Monogramm A. M. - Wie der Herrgott, 1909Monogramm A. M. - Wie der Herrgott, 1909

Arthur Krüger - The Moloch, 1920Arthur Krüger - The Moloch, 1920

Monogramm Leo - The potato usurer in hell, 1915Monogramm Leo - The potato usurer in hell, 1915
 Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - New Reaction Children's Game,1897Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - New Reaction Children's Game, 1897

Unsigned - From the Balkans, 1913Unsigned - From the Balkans, 1913

Unsigned - Bulow's dream, 1902Unsigned - Bulow's dream, 1902

Unsigned - A Modern Laokoon, 1916Unsigned - A Modern Laokoon, 1916

Ferdinand Leeke - Thor Slaps The Midgard Snake, 1895Ferdinand Leeke - Thor Slaps The Midgard Snake, 1895

Unsigned - The Social Democratic Struggle With The Dragon, 1893Unsigned - The Social Democratic Struggle With The Dragon, 1893

Unsigned - Fright Spirits, 1899Unsigned - Fright Spirits, 1899

Monogramm L - Walpurgis Nacht, 1893Monogramm L - Walpurgis Nacht, 1893

Willy Lehmann-Schramm - Illustration of the text "Der russische Nero" 1907Willy Lehmann-Schramm - Illustration of the text "Der russische Nero" 1907

Rata Langa  - Small Japan as a cultural promoter, 1904Rata Langa - Small Japan as a cultural promoter, 1904

Monogramm L - The Scourge Of The Nations, 1893Monogramm L - The Scourge Of The Nations, 1893

Monogramm L - Ein Maimorgen, 1897Monogramm L - Ein Maimorgen, 1897

Rata Langa - Between Scylla and Charybdis, 1899Rata Langa - Between Scylla and Charybdis, 1899
 Unsigned - The War, 1895Unsigned - The War, 1895

A. Mrawek  - Der Amokläufer von Moabit, 1910A. Mrawek - Der Amokläufer von Moabit, 1910

Maximilian Vanselow - Agricultural concert, 1906Maximilian Vanselow - Agricultural concert, 1906

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Glare Of Polyphemms, 1899Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The Glare Of Polyphemms, 1899

A. Mrawek  - Geistliche Schulaufsicht, 1910A. Mrawek - Geistliche Schulaufsicht, 1910

J. U. Engelhard - Far Reaching Protection, 1918J. U. Engelhard - Far Reaching Protection, 1918

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The latest from the Spiritus headquarters, 1909Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - The latest from the Spiritus headquarters, 1909

Artist unknown - Humor of the outside, 1923Artist unknown - Humor of the outside, 1923

Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - On the birthday of the block, 1907Hans Gabriel Jentzsch - On the birthday of the block, 1907

Walter Crane - Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1895Walter Crane - Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1895

Unsigned - Social Welfare, 1907Unsigned - Social Welfare, 1907

Willibald Krain - Political Twilight, 1923Willibald Krain - Political Twilight, 1923

Artist Unknown - The choice in Borna-Pegau, 1914Artist Unknown - The choice in Borna-Pegau, 1914
 Unsigned - A Dorado of the Ill-timers, 1909Unsigned - A Dorado of the Ill-timers, 1909

Friedrich W. Wagner - 1919 - Light PathsFriedrich W. Wagner - Light Paths, 1919
 Willi Steinert  - Neue Marineforderungen, 1914Willi Steinert - Neue Marineforderungen, 1914

"Founded in 1879 in Hamburg the social democratic satire journal Der Wahre Jacob was published intermittently until 1933. For a long time it was the most widely read journal within the circle of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). After reprisals in the context of the Anti-Socialist Laws the magazine was continued in Stuttgart. From 1891 onwards the cover page was decorated with a four-colour printed caricature. Coloured satire pictures, caricatures, agitation pictures and illustrations gained an important role.

In 1923 hyperinflation forced Der Wahre Jacob to cease its publication. As late as October 1922 an issue was sold for 10 Mark, by mid-1923 the price had increased up to 20 million. From 1924 to 1927 the humoristic journal was published under the title Lachen links, from July 1927 the name Der Wahre Jacob was again re-established.

Otto von Bismarck and the politics of the German Reich were the main target of ridicule. Characteristic for Der Wahre Jacob are its articles dealing with tendencies and current events of politics, in particular with the development of social democracy. Already in the year of Hitler's takeover the journal was prohibited because of its critical articles." - quote source

All issues of Der Wahre Jacob are available to download from the university library website of Heidelberg.