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Photography Basics

Photography Basics

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Published by: beeboy0217 on Jul 28, 2012
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Photography Basics
Welcome to the "Photography Basics" course. I'm thrilled you're here! If you've made it to this page, it means you areinterested in learning about the dimensions of photography, what I call the "art and science" of it. Art is for thecreative side and science to know how to manipulate your camera to achieve the desired results. I am confident thatthis class will allow you to explore both sides. Before you even let the thought complete itself, I don't believe in thewords, "But I'm not a science person!" or "But I'm not artistic or creative!" No one person is ever a math/scienceperson or an arts person. We each have a mixture of these abilities...trust me. Let's experiment together. Exerciseswill touch on a little bit of science and a little bit of art. More than anything, I LOVE questions! You can't learn withoutasking questions! No question is a silly one...trust me, I've heard quite a few! That's where this course can help. Wewill build a community where questions are welcome. (You never know how many people are thinking of the samequestion that you dared to ask.) Throughout this course, I'll present questions to find out why each of us photograph.What first inspired you to pick a camera? What are you using for equipment? Film and digital are both exploredbecause the components of photography are the same. Thank you for joining me in this adventure. I'm lookingforward to working with each of you.
Photography Basics
Lesson 1: History of Photography
Why Photograph?
 To understand great photography, we must know its coming of age story. We must also ask ourselves, "Where do wefit in this spectrum?"In this lesson, we will look at the birth, evolution, and future of photography, as well as why each of us photographs.
In this lesson, we will understand the first photographic process that was used to capture a truthful likeness. Seeinghow photography was born, we will also trace its development through the centuries and speculate how it nextevolves. Most importantly, where do we fit into this spectrum?The objectives are outlined as such: - Know who first invented photography and the process that is named after thisperson.- Name 2-3 major players in the evolution of photography, as well as what they contributed to the field.
- Come up with an idea of how photography will be used in the future.- Answer in 2-3 sentences what inspired you to first pick up a camera and capture images and what you hope to "do"with photography (become a fine artist, capture family photos, make a business out of it).
he Birth of Photography
In 1839, when Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre announced to the public that he had invented the daguerreotypeprocess, photography as a medium to capture a truthful likeness was born.
The process was an intensive one, and it's appropriate to say, "You've come a long way, baby!" First, a silver-platedcopper plate had first to be cleaned and polished until the surface looked like a mirror. Next, the plate was sensitizedin a closed box over iodine until it took on a yellow-pink appearance. The plate, held in a lightproof holder, was thentransferred to the camera. After exposure to light, the plate was developed over hot mercury until an image appeared.(I'm not so sure the health department of any state would allow hot mercury in households today!) To fix the image,the plate was immersed in a solution of sodium thiosulfate or salt and then toned with gold chloride.Exposure times for the earliest daguerreotypes ranged from 3-15 minutes, making the process nearly impractical for portraiture. Modifications to the sensitization process plus the improvement of photographic lenses soon reduced theexposure time to less than a minute.How did Daguerre figure all of this out? He was the creator, proprietor, and promoter of a giant illusionistic theater called the Diorama. He sketched scenes for patrons to enjoy an epic story. The storytelling was controlled by way of lighting and sound effects, but Daguerre wanted to invent a way to capture likeness but without an artist drawing it allout. After experimenting for years and partnering with Joseph Niepce, the above process is what achieved the results hewanted. Being a commercial photographer by trade, this served his needs very well. Daguerre was also recognizedby the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, thanking him for his contribution to the country.However, when the first public announcement was made regarding the invention of a successful photographicprocess, it generated much animosity. One German publication said it was "impossible" according to their owninvestigations and the desire to capture reflections, as Daguerre claimed, was blasphemous.
he Evolution of Photography - Part I
Photography had been brought out into the world with the announcement of Daguerre¶s work. However, others hadbeen close. Three weeks after Daguerre¶s work came to light, William Henry Fox Talbot appeared before the RoyalInstitution of Great Britain to announce that he had also found a way to imprint an image permanently, this time onpaper.In 1840 Talbot announced a technique that would become the basis of modern photography. The light-sensitivepaper was exposed long enough to produce a dormant image, but nothing could be seen until the paper waschemically developed. He called his invention a calotype (Greek derivative: ³kalos´ meaning beautiful and ³typos´meaning impression).The greatest asset of Talbot¶s invention was that it allowed reproducibility. (This procedure is the equivalent of today¶scontact print.) However, it never gained wide popularity due to the fact that it lacked the sharp detail of thedaguerreotype.The wet-plate process combined the best of each process. It had the sharpness of the daguerreotype and thereproducibility of the calotype. Frederick Scott Archer, an English sculptor who had been making calotypes of hissubjects to use as studies, discovered that nitrocellulose dissolved in ether and alcohol (known as collodion) was agreat basis for an emulsion. Collodion, however, was not convenient. The glass plate had to be exposed andprocessed while still wet«never mind that coating the plate had to be done skillfully and with precision timing.Now, let¶s fast forward from the birth of photography in the 1830s to the 1880s when photography was still not in thehands of the general public. Due to the technical skill, the expense, and the amount of equipment needed, onlyprofessionals took photographs to be shared with the general public.
 At this point, a dry plate had been invented with a new gelatin emulsion. This made the way for another moderninvention, roll film. (hoorah!) Any idea who¶s responsible for that? If you guessed George Eastman, you¶re correct.Eastman was a bank clerk in Rochester, NY and had bought a wet-plate camera in 1877. Almost immediately, hebegan to search for a simpler way to take pictures. Many had experimented with roll film, but no one was able toproduce it commercially until Eastman invented the equipment to mass-produce film. The result of his quest wasEastman¶s American Film, a roll of paper coated with a thin gelatin emulsion. This emulsion had to be stripped fromthe paper backing to provide a negative that light could shine through. Most photographers had trouble with theoperation, often stretching the negative when it was removed from paper. Therefore, it was easier to send the filmback to the Eastman Company for processing.This invention of film allowed everyone to be a potential photographer. Eastman introduced the Kodak camera in1888, which was loaded with enough film for 100 shots. When all were used up, the owner returned it to the EastmanCompany with the exposed film inside. What they got back was developed and printed photographs and the camera,reloaded with film.In 1888, a factory in Berlin that had been producing colour dyes began manufacturing material for the new rage of photography. That factory, Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation, soon adopted the acronym Agfa as its officialname.In 1891, an Agfa chemist invented Rodinal, which quickly became the world's most famous black & white developer concentrate, still in use today.In 1898, Hannibal Goodwin perfected roll film. He made it a transparent, flexible plastic, which was coated with a thinemulsion and sturdy enough to be used without a paper support.Whew! What an industrious coming of age photography had! Part II of the evolution of photography looks at whatoccurred in the 20th century and beyond.
he Evolution of Photography - Part II
Welcome back as we skate through more of history«.Did you notice anything about the 19th century of photography? Any mention of color film? Nope becausedaguerreotypes, calotypes, wet plates, and the earliest of roll film was truly ³writing with light´ that entered thecamera. Everything was seen in shades of gray based on how much light was allowed to enter the camera.Bring on the color!In 1907, the first commercially successful color film was an additive process. Two French brothers, Antoine and LouisLumiere, made public their Autochrome process. This was a glass plate covered in one layer with tiny bits of potatostarch dyed orange, green, and violet. Then a light-sensitive emulsion was added. Light would hit the emulsion after passing through the colored starch. The emulsion behind each grain was exposed only by the light from the scenethat was the same color as that grain. The result after the development was a full-color transparency. (There¶s a greatphoto of this on page 373 in the seventh edition of ³Photography.´)In 1934, The Fuji Photo Film Company was founded to take over the proposed motion picture film manufacturing of the Dainippon Celluloid Company. The factory was located approximately 31 miles west of Tokyo, at the foot of themountains leading to Mount Fuji.

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