Coburn, Alvin Langdon

born June 11, 1882, Boston, Mass., U.S.
died Nov. 23, 1966, Rhos-on-Sea, Denbighshire, Wales

U.S.-born British photographer.

He did not take up photography seriously until he met Edward Steichen in 1899. In 1902 he opened a studio in New York City and joined the Photo-Secession. In 1904 he went to London with a commission to photograph celebrities; his memorable portraits include those of Auguste Rodin, Henry James, and George Bernard Shaw posing as Rodin's Thinker. In 1917, influenced by Cubism and Futurism, he produced the first photographs depicting abstract compositions.

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▪ American photographer
born June 11, 1882, Boston, Mass., U.S.
died Nov. 23, 1966, Rhos-on-Sea, Denbighshire, Wales
 American-born British photographer and the maker of the first completely nonobjective photographs.

      Coburn began taking photographs when he received a camera as a gift on his eighth birthday, but it was not until 1899, when he met the photographer Edward Steichen (Steichen, Edward), that he became a serious photographer. In the same year Coburn contributed to two important exhibitions: the New School of American Pictorial Photography exhibition and the Salon of the Linked Ring, a group of English photographers who worked to establish photography as an art.

      In 1902 Coburn opened a studio in New York City to exhibit his prints, and in that same year he was elected to the newly formed Photo-Secession, a group of American photographers whose aims were similar to those of the Linked Ring. The following year he was elected a member of the Linked Ring. After working for a year in the New York studio of Gertrude Käsebier (Käsebier, Gertrude), a leading Photo-Secessionist, Coburn returned to Boston, where his style was influenced by his discovery of the ink paintings of the Japanese master Sesshū.

      In 1904 Coburn left for London with a commission to photograph celebrities. Among the memorable portraits he made there were those of the writers George Meredith (1904) and Henry James (1906) and the sculptor Auguste Rodin (1906). He even made a nude portrait of George Bernard Shaw (Shaw, George Bernard) (1906) posed as Rodin's well-known sculpture The Thinker. Coburn's portraits were collected and published in the books Men of Mark (1913) and More Men of Mark (1922).

      In 1913 Coburn exhibited five photographs collectively titled New York from Its Pinnacles, showing street scenes viewed from above. These photographs, especially The Octopus, New York, display a novel use of perspective and an emphasis upon abstract pattern. In 1917 he began taking the first completely nonobjective photographs. He called them vortographs to associate them with the Vorticists, a group of English writers and painters who had been influenced by Cubism and Futurism, as Coburn himself had been. Vortographs were a deliberate attempt to prove that photographers could fracture space into abstract compositions as Cubist painters and sculptors had done.

      During the 1920s Coburn, who had by this time moved to England, became increasingly interested in mysticism, and he abandoned the camera in favour of spiritual pursuits. In the 1950s, however, he resumed photography and produced a number of mysteriously ambiguous photographs, such as Tree Interior (1957) and Reflections (1962). His autobiography, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Photographer (1966), was edited by Helmut Gernsheim and Alison Gernsheim.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Coburn, Alvin Langdon — (11 jun. 1882, Boston, Mass., EE.UU.–23 nov. 1966, Rhos on Sea, Denbighshire, Gales). Fotógrafo británico de origen estadounidense. No se interesó seriamente por la fotografía hasta que conoció a Edward Steichen en 1899. En 1902 abrió un estudio… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alvin Langdon Coburn — (1882 1966) was an early 20th century photographer who became a key figure in the development of American pictorialism. He became the first major photographer to emphasize the visual potential of elevated viewpoints and later made some of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Alvin Langdon Coburn — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Rodin , por Alvin Langdon Coburn Coburn Alvin Langdon 1882, Boston, Estados Unidos 1966, Gales, Reino Unido. Miembro del grupo Photo Secession desde …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alvin Langdon Coburn — Coburn Alvin Langdon 1882, Boston, Estados Unidos 1966, Gales, Reino Unido. Miembro del grupo Photo Secession desde 1904, optó por retratar la ciudad a diferencia de otros de los componentes del grupo, que se especializaron en retratos, desnudos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alvin Langdon Coburn — Blue Plaque für Alvin Langdon Coburn Alvin Langdon Coburn (* 11. Juni 1882 in Boston, USA; † 23. November 1966, Rhos on Sea (Colwyn Bay) Nordwales, Großbritannien) war ein US amerikanisch britischer Fotograf …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alvin Langdon Coburn — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Coburn et Langdon. Alvin Langdon Coburn (11 juin 1882, Boston, États Unis 23 novembre 1966, Nordwales, Grande Bretagne) était un photographe américano britannique. Alvin Langdon Coburn a créé dans une période… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alvin — /al vin/, n. 1. a town in S Texas. 16,515. 2. a male given name: from Old English words meaning elf and friend. * * * (as used in expressions) Ailey Alvin Jr. Coburn Alvin Langdon Alvin Ray Rozelle York Alvin Cullum * * * …   Universalium

  • Alvin — (as used in expressions) Ailey, Alvin, Jr. Coburn, Alvin Langdon Alvin Ray Rozelle York, Alvin C(ullum) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Coburn — ist der Name mehrerer Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Coburn (Colorado) Coburn (Kalifornien) Coburn (Louisiana) Coburn (Maine) Coburn (New Hampshire) Coburn (North Carolina) Coburn (North Dakota) Coburn (Pennsylvania) Coburn (Texas) Coburn (West …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Coburn —   [ kəʊbəːn], Alvin Langdon, britischer Fotograf amerikanischer Herkunft, * Boston (Massachusetts) 11. 6. 1882, ✝ Colwyn Bay 23. 10. 1966; Wegbereiter der modernen experimentellen Fotografie; gehörte zum Künstlerkreis des Vortizismus.   Werke:… …   Universal-Lexikon

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