Arthur Wesley Dow, Poppies, about 1895; and Two Vases with Irises, about 1900
When I first started this project, I had no idea who Arthur Wesley Dow was. He was just a random name on the list that we could choose from, but something about his photography stood out to me. As I started to research more about him, I learned that he was way more important than I ever thought. One thing that I love about Dow is that he is a printmaker as well as a photographer. In fact, he is the one of the most well known printmakers from the turn of the twentieth century. When I went to the print room at the WAM, Nancy (the curator of prints, drawings, and photographs) took out a bunch of Dow woodblock prints to help me in my research of Dow. Seeing the prints and the actual woodblocks for one of them was the coolest part of this project for me. It deconstructed the process and showed just how much effort went into each print, and the different stages of constructing the image that was the final product. It made me wonder whether or not Dow went through a similar process with his cyanotypes, constructing each photograph to get the lines perfectly. It was a great way to look into the mind of Dow, and to help catch a glimpse into his artistic process.
The feautured photo is my favorite Dow print, part of the WAM's collection.