Friday, December 11, 2009

Albert Bierstadt ~ Mount Hood, Artistic License


The other title for this post could be truth in blogging. At the core of last night's Artist Talk discussion at the Portland Art Museum was the representation of Mt. Hood as opposed to its actual size. The gist of that was if a person stood on the Washington state side of the gorge and looked at Mount Hood the actual height would have had to have been upwards of 25K feet to have been the size in Bierstadt's painting. Putting aside the ethical issues raised and debated last night, I feel that I should post some photos of Mount Hood for those of you who are not familiar with it. Keep in mind that even cameras distort reality just as Bierstadt, Church and Moran did in the 19th century.

The lead image is from Portland, up at the top of one of the hills near downtown Portland, as is the next one from a spot just to the west of downtown. The last is from a spot closer to the mountain. Mt. Hood is an icon that is always in my mind's eye.

4 comments:

Amy said...

What I especially liked was the idea that Bierstadt's "portrayal" of Mt. Hood was unethical because it didn't represent the land as it actually is. I wanted to defend the artist, but then I personified the land, and it occured to me how I would feel if someone took my picture then airbrushed Cindy Crawfords body onto me.

Brad said...

Why is it that Mount Hood from Portland looks larger than the shot near the trees. It' a great looking lake but I don't think that's in downtown Portland. The first image looks huge. Why is that okay in the ethical scheme of things.

Amy said...

My guess is that is Lost Lake, and the reason it's ethical is because if you shot me from behind I would look larger too.

LaValle and Amy said...

That first shot from OHSU does look almost as big as the one from up near the mountain. I would have loved to have seen the camera and the lens for that first one. Probably not a 35mm or anything less than a 400 lens...
On my way home after a great birthday weekend.
LaValle