Between 1910 and 1911 Coburn spent an extended period in the wilder regions of California, photographing places of great natural beauty, including the Grand Canyon, AZ. Strong design featured in these photographs and in those taken from the top of New York’s skyscrapers, such as House of a Thousand Windows (1912; see Gernsheim and Gernsheim, p. 109), which was part of the series New York from its Pinnacles, exhibited later at Goupil Galleries, London (1913). He defended his right to manipulate photographic perspective to achieve interesting designs, as the Cubists had done in painting. He settled permanently in Britain in 1912 and became involved in Vorticism from its inception in 1914, though his continued interest in pictorial photography led him in 1915 to form the Pictorial Photographers of America with Gertrude Käsebier, Karl F. Struss and Clarence H. White. In 1916 he made a Vortoscope (a triangle of mirrors attached to the lens), with which he was able to take abstract photographs known as Vortographs, which he exhibited (together with a number of paintings) in London at the Camera Club in 1917. From 1918 he dedicated himself to freemasonry, taking photographs only when on holiday (as in 1947); he spent most of his time at his home in North Wales, where he derived great happiness from his study of freemasonry and spiritual subjects. He became a naturalized British citizen in 1932. A one-man exhibition of his work was held at the Royal Photographic Society in London in 1957 to celebrate his fifty years of membership, and his works continued to be exhibited long after his death.
Left: Original Photograph
Right: Deconstructed Collage of Orignal Photograph
Above: Photograph using a Prism attached to the Lens
Hermione, Year 13