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Dwight A. Davis

A Quiet Pool (Early Evening)
about 1905
platinum print
12 1/4 x 9 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Davis’s soft-focus aesthetic is called pictorialism because of its emphasis on the picturesque qualities of the image. To produce pictures with this kind of luminous quality, Davis and other pictorialists used specially made lenses that form diffuse halos of light around objects and thus obscure fine detail. They often printed on light-sensitive papers coated with platinum rather than on mass-manufactured silver-gelatin emulsions to distinguish their work from that of amateurs.