Jordan Clark

Jordan Clark is a collage artist from California who creates these interesting digital and paper collages. He de-constructs a vintage image and recreates a kaleidoscopic vision of it, as if looking at a picture through a prism. I think his photographs have a cubist and vorticist vibe to them through the geometric shapes. What is interesting about his work is that they give the photographs new meaning and gives the viewer an opportunity to re-examine how we look at photographs, which is the area that I am interested in.



Vortogaphy experiments from others

Whilst doing my research on vorticism and vortographs I have found so photographers who have done some vortograph experiements. The images below were taken and created by a photographer and printmaker called Wilson Hurst. I like his photographs because they resemble Alvin Langdon Coburn, and it is interesting to look at a modern version of them in colour. Also this looks like the kalaedescope look/effect was done during production as opposed to post production like Kawahara Kazuhiko’s work

Another person I found is a blogger and amateur photographer who just goes by their blog name of Canoe Communications. What I like about this work is that they have experimented with nature and vortographs. I have been thinking about nature inspired photography but had been having trouble visualising how it would work and what it would look like. Therefore looking at this person’s work has provided inspiration. You can also see the pictorialist/Alfred Stieglitz inspirationin some of the images.

The third person that I looked at is Tess Wyatt who took some vortographs by creating a kaleidoscope made out of styrene glass. They took pictures of flowers, crotchet and other things that they were interested in. Looking at these there photographers works has made me start to think about whether I’d want to create my vortographs post production or during production. And if I was to do it during production which materials who I need to make my own ‘vortoscope’ and how I would take the photographs.

These three examples that I have looked at has helped me realise that vortographs don’t strictly have to look the same and so industrial like some of Coburn’s vortographs.



Vanity-Inspired by: “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”- nature photography with “worldly” materialistic things. Or still life photos using fruit, flowers vegetables etc- modern pictorialist vanitas photos?

The world is a stage- street photography capturing places around Bristol and how people behave in public spaces

Theme of “beauty- Abstract or surrealist photography using nature or landscape. Or taking photos of objects or environments that would not be considered to be beautiful e.g. a place where there is a lot of waste. Iy would be interesting to use a vortograph/cubist style to make them abstract

Home away from home- Candid style photography of people who have migrated to Bristol, in places around Bristol or with items that they have which reminds them of where they are from.


Vorticism & Vortographs

Vorticism was a short lived avant garde movement coined by Ezra Pound in 1913. The aim was to create art that expressed the dynamism of the modern world. It was the British equivalent of futurism and it was partly inspired by cubism. Vorticism was expressed in abstract compositions of bold lines, sharp angles and planes.

Below are examples of vorticist art

A photographer called Alvin Langdon Coburn joined a group of vorticists, which is when he started experimenting with what he called vortographs, which are abstract pictures taken through a triangular tunnel of mirrors called a vortoscope. Vortographs were the first completely abstract kind of photography. Coburn was also a figure in the development of pictorialism. He created 18 different kind of photographs in some theme he used Pound and other vorticists artists. When he exhibited them at the Camera Club in 1917 which received mixed reviews from people including Pound and Alfred Stieglitz who rejected some of Coburn’s prints for a show he was putting together (Stieglitz was a well known figure in the pictorialist movement and trying to make photography an art form) In the past however Ezra Pound had described Coburn’s photographs as to have “leapt beyond the “stale and suburban” style of pictorialism, freed the camera from the representation of reality, and brought photography on a par with modern abstract painting.” Coburn later withdrew from the vorticism movement and towards the end of his life photography all together, as a result of the critical reception from his show and ‘schism’ between him and Pound.

Below are some vortographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn and some modern vortographs


Kaleidoscopic Cities: 10 Vortograph-Inspired Urban Images


Pictorialism is a term for a style of photography which emphasises the beauty of  the subject matter, tonality and composition rather than just documenting reality. In other words it is the style in which a photographer has manipulated a photograph as a way of creating an image instead of just recording it. This movement started in the mid 1800’s spanning through to the 1920’s. Pictorialists were the first to establish photography as an art medium. Henry Peach Robinson was the the first to introduce the idea of pictorialism in his book Pictorial Effect in Photography in 1869. He also described pictorialism as the joining together of sections of different photographs to form a “composite” image.

Pictorialists had two ways to distinguish their images from just documenting the everyday life. Firstly the subjects and the composition were designed to bring a sense of fantasy and visual cohesion. Secondly photographers were beginning to manipulate the chemical process in the same way that a painter would  control their tools, such as applying brush strokes, which gave the photographs a painting like look. In manipulating the presentation of information in a photographic negative, the photographers injected their own sensibility into the viewer’s perception of the image, therefore permeating it with pictorial meaning. This idea was most likely influenced by impressionism which was contemporary at the time. In the 1920’s the pictorialism gradually declined as the aesthetics of modernism took hold.

Below are some photographs from the pictorialism movement

Robert Demanchy 


Alice Boughton 


Gertrude Kasebier

Even though I looked into pictorialism to get an idea of how vortographs were started, I really like that  they have this artistic, fantasy, haunting feel and look to them (especially Alice Boughton’s work…) I found a photographer, Chris Field, who recreated pictorialist photographs using stockings and vaseline! I think this might be interesting to try out as an exercise or as a project. Below are the images that Chris Field produced.