[Black Bottle] (recto); [Abstraction, Bowls, Twin Lakes, Connecticut] (verso)

Object Details


[Black Bottle] (recto); [Abstraction, Bowls, Twin Lakes, Connecticut] (verso)


Paul Strand (American, 1890 - 1976)




Twin Lakes, Connecticut, United States (Place depicted)


neg about 1919 prt 1923 - 1939 (recto); neg 1915 - 1916 prt about 1920 (verso)


Gelatin silver print


32.7 x 24.8 cm (12 7/8 x 9 3/4 in.)


© Aperture Foundation

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The photographer's problem is to see clearly the limitations and at the same time the potential qualities of his medium, for it is precisely here that honesty no less than intensity of vision is the prerequisite of a living expression. This means a real respect for the thing in front of him expressed in terms of chiaroscuro...

So wrote Paul Strand two years before he made this negative of a black bottle sitting in a white sink. Through the manipulation of light and dark tones, Strand transformed this ordinary subject matter. The four overflow drain holes become graphic markings in the upper left, while the muted gray shadow cast by the bottle assumes an almost-human form against the porcelain. The diagonals of light that illuminate the scene appear like radiant beams.

Rare States and Unusual Subjects: Photographs by Paul Strand, Andre Kertesz, and Man Ray (July 7 to September 6, 1987)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 7 to September 6, 1987
In Focus: Still Life (September 7, 2010 to January 23, 2011) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 7, 2010 to January 23, 2011