I propose that this medium of photography is so young that it is not fully understood by experts or by photographers. The greatest influence  obscuring the field has been pictorialism. At this point it may be appropriate to define pictorialism.  My definition would be something like this: that pictorialism means chiefly the making of pleasant pretty pictures in the spirit of certain minor painters. What is more, the imitators of painting imitate the superficial qualities of painting, are not themselves aware of the true values for which painting strives. The only relationship is that of a two-dimensional image on a flat surface within a certain area, but the natures of those two images are worlds apart. Photography can never grow up and stand on its own two feet if it imitates primarily some other medium. It has to walk alone. It has to be itself.”

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Excerpt from An Address Given by Berenice Abbott at the Aspen Institute Conference on Photography, October 6, 1951

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