"Veil, mirrors, models, mannequins, classical busts and modern sculptures were utilized in Blumenfeld's quest for beauty. Faces and bodies were stretched, squeezed, minimized, multiplied, dematerialized, etherlalized. The full panoply of his darkroom alchemy was brought to bear on the elusive object. Negativepositive hybrids, reticulated negatives (obtained by freezing them when still wet), solarization, multiple exposures and sandwiched negatives, the masking and bleaching of prints, even chemical blotches and blemishes were employed in order to bring his idea to life."
"His aim was to free the subject from restrictions imposed on it by the geometry of the space in which it was set and replace the feeling of physical distance by one of subjective separation, imprecise, unstable and insurmountable, such as could be brough about by desire, recollection, dream or anguish."
Photography was a magical device through which dreams could be captured and preserved - and, where Woman was concern, symbolically possessed.
Blumenfeld customized certain light for specific tasks. One was equipped with a telescope, for example, allowing the photographer to protect a very small beam. When this beam appears right does the center of the face, it gives the illusion of double exposure. When the beam appears only on one side of the face, it appears to have a profile and full view effect - almost a negative and positive effect.
he projected lines on the naked body was Blumenfeld's attempts to 'transcend the simple mechanics of the camera' not a decorative device
Quotation and images taken from Blumenfeld a Fetish for Beauty by William A. Ewing
There's always something in each of Erwin's image that makes me stare at it for a long and time and wonder how on earth did he do it considering the absence of Photoshop in his time period. The way he choses to portray the model is quite mysterious, like how the details of the face is covered or distorted one way or another, and this is why I associate him with Surrealism movement with the ignorance of identity. In my opinion, within dreams, sometimes identities of people are not shown or forgotten after waking up, and so in Surrealist art pieces, faces are often covered by something or is simple absent. The overall atmosphere I get from Blumenfeld's photograph are beautiful, haunted, and alluring. With the technique of solarization or shining light to specific space on the model's face, the outcome makes me wonder about the state of mind of the models. It looks as if the subject is perhaps mentally ill, and the image is the representation of his/her mind. Blumenfeld created his work shown below through double exposure or even the use of cracked mirror, but nothing can beat his daring use of studio light. I really like the division of the area where light shines and the area of shadow. Although there's real meaning behind these pieces, as Blumenfeld was exploring different techniques in the darkroom, but light and shadow to me represents brightness and darkness. The light represents the person as the subject is as we see the image, but the dark area is the hidden personality or hidden thoughts that cannot be revealed to the public. Solarization technique also makes the contrast of light and shadow even more dramatic. Even though I have no story board behind the photoshoot I'm doing, I want to experiment with use of hard light idea and see how I can develop from there.