Futurism and Photography

In my last photo history course, I decided to research Futurism and photography. Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. The movement focused on speed, action, political rebellion, conflict, and the glorification of the machine. The futurist movement was an offshoot of the avant-garde movement, and was the brainchild of wealthy Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.  Marinetti became obsessed with the idea of a profound need for a metamorphosis of the post-industrial society.  The futurist manifesto shocked and excited the public with a radical ideology that embraced war, violence, and rebellion as the way to combat the old, stale ideas of the past.  One important photographer influenced by this movement was Anton Giulio Bragaglia, who strove to represent a fluid portrayal of reality through motion and energy, to capture movement through time in a continuous and constant stream. Bragaglia became the spokesman of futurism within the photographic arena, and wrote and published the Fotodinamismo Futurista in 1912.  The manifesto reads:

“A shout, a tragical pause, a gesture of terror, the entire scene, the complete external unfolding of the intimate drama, can be expressed in one single work. And this applies not only to the point of departure or that of arrival – nor merely to the intermediary stage, as in chronophotography – but continuously, from beginning to end, because in this way, the inter-movemental stages of a movement can also be invoked.”

Anton Giulio Bragaglia. The slap (Italian: Lo schiaffo) , 1912. Gelatin silver print, 8×6 in

Anton Giulio Bragaglia. The slap (Italian: Lo schiaffo) 1912. Gelatin silver print, 8×6 in

He wanted the viewer to experience the essence of the subject and their existence through space and time, and used long exposures in his imagery to capture a changing form.

This is my homage to Bragaglia and the futurist movement. These images created with use of long exposures (3-4 seconds) and multiple (2-3) manual pops of flash via speedlight:

And here is an image with a slightly different, dreamier look, shot with long exposure and continuous light:

Hope you enjoy!

Jamie