HE FINAL ISSUES of Camera Work were illustrated with images by newcomer, Paul Strand. For the first time these gravures, printed on a heavier stock, have come to represent a turning point in the history of the medium. Stieglitz wrote of Strand, "... The work is brutally direct. Devoid of flim-flam; devoid of trickery and any 'ism'; devoid of any attempt to mystify an ignorant public, including the photographers themselves. These photographs are the direct expression of today..." Straight Photography was born.
And with Pictorialsm went the popularity of the hand-pulled dust-grain photogravure. The less expensive rotogravure process had found its foothold in the publishing marketplace and coincided with the strong, sharp and clean printing style of the new era of photographers. There were holdouts however. In 1933, Doris Ulmann's "Roll Jordan Roll" beautifully documented the vanishing culture of African American tenant farmers in lush photogravure. And in 1937, Adolph Fassbender published "Pictorial Artistry", considered to be one of the most lavish books ever printed in photogravure.
Many consider Paul Strand's portfolio, Photographs of Mexico issued in 1940, the finest photogravures ever made. In this seminal body of work, Strand relies on the rich depth and texture of photogravure to convey the quiet and somber state of the Mexican people and the landscape of a war-torn country impoverished by revolution.