Edvard Munch’s Photography Beyond The Scream
Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist internationally celebrated for his paintings, prints and watercolours, was a pioneer of expressionist art, especially seen in his painting of The Scream. He was also one of the first of painters who dabbled in amateur photography. His innate experimentalism revealed prominently as he explored the medium of photography like none other during his time.
Edvard Munch was aged nearly 40 when he first started experimenting with photography in 1904, using one of the most common amateur cameras of the time: Kodak Bull’s Eye No. 2. With a simple device as such, by probing and exploiting the dynamics of ‘faulty’ practices such as distortion, blurred motion, and other photographic ‘mistakes’, he created images that were rendered expressive and poetic. He used the camera as if it was his personal journal on his life, his inner emotions, with no concerns of making a ‘good’ or ‘perfect’ image.
Munch often held the camera at arms-length so he could press down the shutter button, unknowingly making one of the earliest selfies ever taken. Photographing mostly of himself and his immediate environment, his images evoke a sense of loneliness, with most subjects being himself in a clinic he admitted himself, the nurses, and his housekeeper. These intimate images reveal his inner struggle with anxiety, and capture his sincerity and extreme vulnerability.
Unlike many from his time, Munch saw photography as worthy an art form as painting. Photography was just another expressive tool, just like his paintings. Looking through his images, the audience can be inspired and encouraged to just pick up a camera and shoot, it doesn’t matter our age or how great the camera needs to be.