How Moholy-Nagy made photography manifestly modern. This essay discusses the ways that Moholy used and thought about photography differently.

Essay by airelleUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2003

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How did Moholy-Nagy make photography made manifestly modern?

A typical Laszlo Moholy-Nagy photograph might feature hard diagonals or contrasting geometric shapes, often under harsh lighting that cast dramatic shadows within the photo. Moholy is known for using many radical techniques within his arts, which venture from constructivism to modernism to surrealism. In his time, he faced much opposition because of this; however, not only did he continue developing his methods, he is viewed as one of the foremost advocates of modernism in the twentieth century. His greatest influence in photography may not have been his work or struggles, but his time spent spreading his principles as a teacher later in his life.

Although, Moholy started his artwork with a brief period of militarism, he quickly discovered his own style. He ignored lines of distinction between photographic and graphic expression. He ignored the traditional dependence of photography on the forms of painting.

He ignored the role and purpose of photography as seen by the masses. Moholy understood a camera to be a modern graphic tool that allowed him to capture and convey different aspects of reality to his viewers. He tried to give his viewers a different perspective of casual subjects by photographing them from different viewpoints, such as bird's-eye and worm's-eye views. He also framed his photos in a non-traditional style. He often used diagonal composition to give a photo a different focus or to point out a certain aspect of the photo that may have otherwise been overlooked by his viewers. He often utilized foreground and background effects, placing objects in places that they were not typically placed. He found this was another effective method of drawing attention to a certain point in a photo. Because Moholy sought to show society as it was aesthetically, he utilized these radical...