This was an unusual way of working Paul Outerbridge adopted. He sketched out ideas on a paper before setting up objects in his studio. This is how the American photographer managed to observe spatial relationships, playing with the light that was always a very important element of composition.
He paved his way through the artistic world in the 1920s, working for Vanity Fair or Harper’s Bazaar, cruising between Paris and Berlin. Soon, he became a pioneer of colour photography, creating fine art photographs with stark hues. Outerbridge spent years exploring the three-colour carbro transfer printing process, until he made it his signature. He took pictures that were naturalistic, reflecting the smallest shades and variations of saturated colour.
His cubist images, reminiscent of the paintings by Picasso, Picabia or Leger, are full of analysis and abstract forms, where the pole for interpretation is wide and objects are depicted from many viewpoints. That was the case with the ‘Images de Deauville’ (1936) or ‘Egg On Block’ (1923). Outerbridge changed the way his contemporaries were thinking of photography, moving between the commercial and artistic work as swiftly as he changed his technique to explore the colour.
‘One very important difference between colour and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in colour you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty.’