Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891–1956)
Gelatin silver print
11 9/16 x 9 3/16 in. (29.3 x 23.4 cm)
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987 (1987.1100.5)
© Estate of Alexander Rodchenko/RAO, Moscow/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Avant-garde photographers generally were not much interested in landscape, a genre associated with pastoral and sublime notions. Rodchenko characteristically found the natural setting of his country house accidental and unorganized: "A bush here, a tree there, a gully, nettles." There seemed nothing to make a photograph from, he wrote, until he looked up to see the trees towering above him "like telephone poles." His raking shot from below proposes vertigo instead of a sylvan calm, a dynamic alternative to the traditional horizons of the landscape view.