The vintage photography of Robert Wesley Stone

Chattanooga Choo-Choo, originally uploaded by photo_secessionist.

“At Home – 1942”, originally uploaded by photo_secessionist.

Reviewing these photos, you may be surprised to learn that everyone portrayed here is one of your contemporaries.  That is, these photos were shot in the 21st century and feature reenactors, not actual young men and women of another place and time.

The key to these magical images—aside from the keen eye and the skill of the photographer—is the use of actual cameras from the 1930s and 40s.  From Mr. Stone’s Flickr profile:

Photo Secessionist, or Photo Regressionist? It’s hard for me to say. The original Secessionists were attempting to esablish photography as an art form in it’s own right – seperate, alike, from the constraints of painting and the harsh realism of then-current photography. Reality was a big part of their advocacy of photography – but a reality that revealed something beyond the merely pictorial. I’m trying to go back to their influences, using their medium (film) and often their tools – vintage cameras from the 1920’s, 30’s & 40’s.

I work with words a lot in my life, but I find photography the ultimate story-telling medium… without using words. Frankly, I’m tired of words. Each photo can and ought to stand alone; each viewer can, and should, find his own story there – a story which may be completely different from what I see. Enjoy (I hope) and interpret for yourself – make your own stories. Stories without words… it’s a great concept!

In an era where every visual arts installation is accompanied by an earnest, wordy placard—whose purpose is to tell the viewer that the mess in front of them is something other than wilfully obtuse self-indulgence by a talentless creator—straightforward, beautiful imagery telling its own story is a refreshing change.

I highly recommend viewing Mr. Stone’s entire “Vintage” set on Flickr.

Category: Ars Gratia Artis  Tags:
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One Response
  1. Nicholas says:

    The first one I found unconvincing, as it didn’t actually look like any of the bocage images from June-September 1944 I’d seen in other works. The rest are rather better at recapturing their respective atmosphere.