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Analytical Essay Task: Describe the key material, cultural and conceptual circumstances that lead to modernity. Explain how modernity can be both historical period and a contemporary cultural condition. You will need to explain the effects of the erosion of tradition, and industrialization.
Modernity has concerned sociologists for generations;Cohen andKennedy (2000) trace the emergence of modernity back to the 17th Century and the dawn ofthe revolutionary age of Enlightenment, as did the first attempt at photography. I will try to describe the key material, cultural and conceptual circumstances that lead to modernity and explain how modernity can be both a historical period and a cultural condition, it will be interesting to see how modernity throughout its different phase has impacted photography. I will start by identifying the important characteristic of modernity and reflect upon its stages; secondly I will retrace how photography evolved in parallel to modernity.
Modernity is more a cultural condition rather than an historical period, it defines the progress of society, from primitives civilization to a modern age characterize by industrialization and capitalism and onwards to our current post modern stage of globalization. According to Browning, Halcli and Webster (2000) a prominent feature of modernity is realization of Democracy, originating from the enlightenment age in the 18 century in Western Europe. The Enlightenment Age was an intellectual movement that brought unexpected changes in people life and how they perceived the world throughout the eighteen and nineteen centuries, the movement leaders had given themselves the mission of enlightening the mass population and help bring society to a more advance stage. Our contemporary society owes much to the enlightenment movement for laying the
Technological and scientific advances such as communication helped break down the culture barriers.images where captured on glass plates. Industrialized society experienced a major shift in family life. The world moved to an industrial era. Books played a massive role in the enlightenment of the mass. excellent chemistry skills and long processing hours just to produce one image. new job opportunities attracted people from the rural area to the city. Craib (1997) mentioned that the Industrial Revolution effected changes in industry through increased productive capacity via a new division of labor. thanks to development in the to industrial revolution books were made available a lot faster. most notably within factories. Urbanization lead to larger cities and therefore taking over traditional villages and their inner cultures . where we saw the birth of factories and civilization developed at an unprecedented rate. thanks to the Alex VIDAL 2 . Modernity continues with the post-industrial stage. people could now travel to different countries. they argue that globalization can be understood through the imagery of global multicultural companies such as MacDonald s most notably for its principle of efficiency. books like the encyclopedia made knowledge accessible to everyone.In 1920. but more importantly advanced societies could export their culture and ways of life.However society in this era was still the victim of incurable diseases and wars. thereby heading in a new age of individualism. organization and predictability. the art of photography in the 18 century used to be reserved to a handful of scientist. and to family life which lost its status as a productive unit. The photographer had to carefully plan and compose his image in order not to waste. with work now taking place outside the home. it required costlyand cumbersome material. this lead to a loss of traditional values and a shift in ideas.Macionis and Plummer (2008) define it as: the increasing interconnectednessofsocieties .Alex VIDAL foundations of technological and scientific progress. where societies are information based and everything is globalised and connected. Photography was intensely tampered with by modernity.
although only by an expensive super computer for the time. George Eastman invented the first roll of film and portable camera called the box camera. 1988). no processing required and smaller better-organized archives. former director of photography at National Geographic s at the time of the pyramid image. National Geographic s. motor drives and better optics reduced photographic knowledge to a simple point and shoot action. however technological advances such as exposure meters. now virtually anyone could take a photograph without any knowledge of the principles and reactions that occurs when taking a photograph. Digital photography for press meant no film cost. This made glass plate camera and technicians rapidly disappear and their traditions with them. soon after. long known for their photojournalism excellence. Cameras were not fully automatic and required a fair bit of knowledge to operate. image could now be manipulated. and were widely available. for photojournalism it meant that the photographic truth was no longer applicable. any household computer could now easily manage large quantities of files. With the computer age came digital photography. and people stated collecting large Alex VIDAL 3 . By the start of the 21-century digital camera technologies had come a long way. it became useful for press photographer on the field in our information based societies who needed to capture large amounts of images and send them to the news paper as fast as possible for print.Alex VIDAL technological advances of the industrial revo lution. defended saying he had no ethical problem with combining two images into a single cover picture. although at first it didn t match the quality of film and required expensive new equipment. although admitted. enormous capacities. One was for the cover story of Egypt. pyramids were squeezed together to fit the cover s vertical format with informing the reader that it was a recompose image. camera had excellent resolution. the 35mm film was developed and camera manufacturers started mass producing. used computer technologies on two occasions and was severely criticized. Although film made photography a lot more accessible. some publication could start abusing (Lester. Rich Clarkson. Therefore people wanting to take pictures had to have a common interest in the principles of photography and its traditions. Disposable camera and Polaroid were the last step. However digital photography posed a serious threat.
sort of a virtual gallery. and thereby lead us to new industrial revolution. Photography went from a difficult science to a mere point a nd shoot action. Internet has benefits and drawback for photography. Nowadays picture taking is not restricted to camera owners. but on the other hand stock photography website where anyone can sell the right to his image for one dollar are ruining small professional photographers. like civilization went from hunters and gatherers to globalization. accurately interpret. in this case photography. Having explored the outlines of modernity and its repercussion on cultural development. Like their predecessors.Alex VIDAL database of snapshots. we are still searching to develop science and technology. Modernity continues today. today s elite are evidently as passionateto study the world around them as they were at thedawn of modernity when the Enlightenment paved the way for historic changes tothe way we live. more and more products have a camera mounted. we can see that societies. Alex VIDAL 4 . etc. it started with the mobile phone. but also jewelry pens . and all linked aspect of individual and social life are constantly evolving. on one hand it allows you to display your photograph to a large audience. contemporary sociologists arecompelled to continue to examine modernity and post-modernity so that they can fullyappreciate.
F. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. J. Faking images in photojournalism. A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Craib. and Kennedy. and Webster. Alex VIDAL 5 . R. K. p.Alex VIDAL Bibliography Browning. and Plummer. Macionis. Cohen. (2000) Global Sociology. (2008) Sociology.) (2000) Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present.. Weber. and Simmel. Fullerton: California State University.Durkheim. (eds. Fourth Edition. Lester. M. London: Sage Publications Ltd. G. I. P. Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan. Halcli. (1988). (1997) Classical Social Theory: An Introduction to the Thought of Marx.
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