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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Group f/64

Group f/64

Group f/64 Collage

Started: 1932

Ended: 1935

"The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?"

Edward Weston Signature


Formed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the 11 members of Group f/64 (sometimes referred to as the West Coast Photographic Movement) owed their assiduous aesthetic precision in fact to the East Coast of America and to the endeavours of Paul Strand. It was Strand who can claim to have developed and finessed Straight Photography and it was indeed the pursuit of a "pure" (or Straight) image that became Group f/64's unifying quest.

One of the most famous photographic collectives in history, Group f/64 mounted a revolt against the dominant fashion within the art of photography which was to ape the painterly and graphic techniques associated with Bay Area Pictorialism. The members' preference was for a style of art photography that would fully promote the camera's unique mechanical qualities. As the Group declared in its 1932 manifesto: "Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form [and] The Group will show no work at any time that does not conform to its standards." Indeed, the diaphragm number f/64 from which the Group took its name, is the smallest camera lens aperture possible and thereby lends the image a sharpness and detail in depth that simply could not be replicated by the hand or in real time. The Group used large format view cameras to achieve their effect and they produced images ranging in theme through landscapes, still lifes, nudes, and architectural features.

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