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The process of forming stable or permanent visible images directly or indirectly by the action of light or other forms of radiation on sensitive surfaces. Traditional photography uses the action of light to cause changes in a film of silver halide crystals in which development converts exposed silver halide to (nonsensitive) metallic silver. Following exposure in a camera or other device, the film or plate is developed, fixed in a solution that dissolves the undeveloped silver halide, washed to remove the soluble salts, and dried. Printing from the original, if required, is done by contact or optical projection onto a second emulsion-coated material, and a similar sequence of processing steps is followed. Digital photography captures images directly with an electronic photosensor. See also Photographic materials. Photography is practiced on a professional level for portraiture and for various commercial and industrial applications, including the preparation of photographs for advertising, illustration, display, and record-keeping. Press photography is for newspaper and magazine illustrations of topical events and objects. Photography is used at several levels in the graphic arts to convert original photographs or other illustrations into printing plates for high-quality reproduction in quantity. Industrial photography includes the generation and reproduction of engineering drawings, high-speed photography, schlieren photography, metallography, and many other forms of technical photography which can aid in the development, design, and manufacture of various products. Aerial photography is used for military reconnaissance and mapping, civilian mapping, urban and highway planning, and surveys of material resources. Biomedical photography is used to reveal or record biological structures, often of significance in medical research, diagnosis, or treatment. Photography is widely applied to preparing projection slides and other displays for teaching through visual education. See also Printing; Schlieren photography. Photography is one of the most important tools in scientific and technical fields. It extends the range of vision, allowing records to be made of things or events which are difficult or impossible to see because they are too faint, too brief, too small, or too distant, or associated with radiation to which the eye is insensitive. Technical photographs can be studied at leisure, measured, and stored for reference or security. The
acquisition and interpretation of images in scientific and technical photography usually requires direct participation by the scientist or skilled technicians.
Emulsions made with special sensitizing dyes can respond to radiation at wavelengths up to 1200 nanometers, though the most common infrared films exhibit little sensitivity beyond 900 nm. One specialized color film incorporates a layer sensitive in the 700–900nm region and is developed to false colors to show infrared-reflecting subjects as bright red. See also Infrared radiation. Photographs can thus be made of subjects which radiate in the near-infrared, such as stars, certain lasers and light-emitting diodes, and hot objects with surface temperatures greater than 500°F (260°C). Infrared films are more commonly used to photograph subjects which selectively transmit or reflect near-infrared radiation, especially in a manner different from visible radiation. Infrared photographs taken from long distances or high altitudes usually show improved clarity of detail because atmospheric scatter (haze) is diminished with increasing wavelength and because the contrast of ground objects may be higher as a result of their different reflectances in the near-infrared. Grass and foliage appear white because chlorophyll is transparent in the near-infrared, while water is rendered black because it is an efficient absorber of infrared radiation. See also Infrared imaging devices.
Two distinct classes of photography rely on ultraviolet radiation. In the first, the recording material is exposed directly with ultraviolet radiation emitted, reflected, or transmitted by the subject; in the other, exposure is made solely with visible radiation resulting from the fluorescence of certain materials when irradiated in the ultraviolet. In the direct case, the wavelength region is usually restricted by the camera lens and filtration to 350–400 nm, which is readily detected with conventional black-and-white films. Ultraviolet photography is accomplished at shorter wavelengths in spectrographs and cameras fitted with ultraviolet-transmitting or reflecting optics, usually with specialized films. In ultraviolet-fluorescence photography, ultraviolet radiation is blocked from the film by filtration over the camera lens and the fluorescing subject is recorded readily with conventional color or panchromatic films. Both forms of ultraviolet photography are used in close-up photography and photomicrography by mineralogists, museums, art galleries, and forensic photographers. See also Ultraviolet radiation.
Photography at exposure durations shorter than those possible with conventional shutters or at frequencies (frame rates) greater than those achievable with motion picture cameras with intermittent film movements is useful in a wide range of technical applications. The best conventional between-the-lens shutters rarely yield exposures shorter than 1/500 s. Some focal plane shutters are rated at 1/2000 or 1/4000 s but may take 1/100 s to
traverse the film format. Substantially shorter exposures are possible with magnetooptical shutters (using the Faraday effect), with electrooptical shutters (using the Kerr effect), or with pulsed electron image tubes. Alternatively, a capping shutter may be used in combination with various pulsed light sources which provide intense illumination for very short durations, including pulsed xenon arcs (electronic flash), electric arcs, exploding wires, pulsed lasers, and argon flash bombs. Flash durations ranging from 1 millisecond to less than 1 nanosecond are possible. Similarly, high-speed radiographs have been made by discharging a short-duration high-potential electrical pulse through the x-ray tube. See also Faraday effect; Kerr effect; Laser; Stroboscopic photography. The classical foundation for serial frame separation is the motion picture camera. Intermittent movement of the film in such cameras is usually limited to 128 frames/s (standard rates are 16 and 24). For higher rates (up to 10,000 frames/s or more) continuous film movement is combined with optical compensation, as with a rotating plane-parallel glass block, to avoid image smear. Pictures made at these frequencies but projected at normal rates slow down (stretch) the motion according to the ratio of taking and projection rates. Higher rates, up to 107 frames/s, have been achieved with a variety of ingenious special-purpose cameras. In some, the sequence of photographs is obtained with a rapidly rotating mirror at the center of an arcuate array of lenses, and a stationary strip of film. In others, the optics are stationary and the film strip is moved at high speed by mounting it around the outside or inside of a rapidly rotating cylinder. To overcome mechanical limitations on the rotation of mirrors or cylindrical film holders at high speeds, image dissection methods have been employed, that is, an image is split into slender sections and rearranged to fill a narrow slit at the film. The image is unscrambled by printing back through the dissecting optics. See also Cinematography.
The art of aerial photography, in which photographs of the Earth's surface are made with specialized roll-film cameras carried aloft on balloons, airplanes, and spacecraft, is an important segment of a broader generic technology, remote sensing. The film is often replaced with an electronic sensor, the sensor system may be mounted on an aircraft or spacecraft, and the subject may be the surface of a distant planet instead of Earth. Remote sensing is used to gather military intelligence; to provide most of the information for plotting maps; for evaluating natural resources (minerals, petroleum, soils, crops, water) and natural disasters; and for planning cities, highways, dams, pipelines, and airfields. Aerial photography normally provides higher ground resolution and geometric accuracy than the imagery obtained with electronic sensors, especially when covering small areas, so it continues as the foundation for mapmaking, urban planning, and some other applications. Films designed for aerial photography, both black-and-white and color, have somewhat higher contrast than conventional products because the luminance range of the Earth's surface as seen from altitudes of 5000 ft (1500 m) or more is roughly 100 times lower than that of landscapes photographed horizontally. See also Aerial photograph; Photogrammetry; Topographic surveying and mapping. The acquisition of image information with scanning sensors mounted on spacecraft provides an inexpensive means for gathering photographs of large areas of the Earth or
the whole Earth at regular intervals (minutes or hours for meteorological satellites, days for Earth resources satellites) or for photographing subjects which cannot be reached with aircraft or approached with spacecraft. Some sensors operate at wavelengths beyond those detected by infrared films. The image information is transmitted to receiving stations on Earth, usually processed electronically to correct for geometric and atmospheric factors, and recorded on a variety of image recorders. Scanning sensors, as well as film cameras, are employed in aerial reconnaissance because they can transmit tactical information to ground stations for evaluation before the aircraft returns to base or is shot down. Synthetic aperture radar, which maps the reflectance of microwaves from the surface of the Earth and other planets, represents another form of remote sensing for both military and commercial purposes in which the information is returned to Earth and reconstructed in photographic form for study. See also Aerial photograph; Meteorological satellites; Military satellites; Remote sensing.
The process of electronic acquisition, the equivalent of taking a photograph, is often referred to as image capture. Light intensity is detected in digital camera by an photosensor. This is normally a chargecoupled device (CCD), although complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) devices are beginning to appear in some systems. See also Charge-coupled devices. When photons strike the sensor, they give up energy. This causes electrons to be emitted, turning the energy of the photons into electrical energy. The number of electrons that are emitted can be measured to determine how many photons struck the capture element, and from this the scanner can generate a value for the intensity of light arriving from the point on the original being analyzed. The aim of the digitization stage is to capture all the information from an original that will be needed in the reproduction and convert it into an array of binary numbers that a computer can process. The human visual system actively seeks cues that will give it information about the objects within the visual field, and a reproduction of an image that contains a large amount of detail is almost always preferred to one in which some of the detail has been lost. The more information that the reproduction contains about the original scene—the objects in it, their colors, textures—the more realistic the reproduction appears. See also Image processing. Like conventional cameras, digital cameras come in compact, single-lens reflex, and large-format varieties. Low-resolution compacts are useful for producing classified advertisements and tend to have relatively simple optics, image-sensing electronics, and controlling software. Digital cameras are often based on existing single-lens reflex camera designs with the addition of CCD backs and storage subsystems. The capture resolution of these cameras is ideal for news photography and other applications with similar quality requirements. See also Camera.
World of the Body: photography Top Home > Library > Health > World of the Body When photography was announced to the world in 1839, almost immediately three relationships to the body were established. The most pervasive of these was its use to produce portraits and snapshots that have served as surrogates, even fetishistic tokens, of the human body. As new technologies made photography progressively cheaper throughout the nineteenth century, photographic portraiture, produced in the studios of trained technicians, worked its way down to ever lower classes of society. Photographic portraits made present to broad classes of people images of the bodies of family members who had emigrated, gone off to war, died, or otherwise absented themselves, a privilege enjoyed previously only by the rich. For the last third of the nineteenth century photographic portraits were also collected and assembled into albums as a way for the public to see the leading political, artistic, and literary figures of the day. As a different kind of surrogate, photography itself extended the reach of the body's comprehension of the world. Doing so more insistently than did other forms of mimetic representation, photography seemed to stand in for the direct, bodily experience of the individual, its lens becoming the roving eye of the beholder. Most obviously one sees this in travel and expeditionary photographs of the nineteenth century, for which skilled professionals travelled forth from Western Europe and the eastern USA to record and bring back views of sites as various as India, the American West and the Middle East. Finally, photography played a role in the nineteenth-century comprehension of the body itself within the emerging sciences. Ethnographers saw in photography the potential to prove theories of racial difference, using photographs showing faces and full (frequently unclothed) bodies that had been produced both for the tourist trade and specifically for ethnographic study. Early investigators of psychiatry and eugenics considered the medium an objective tool of research, finding evidence in straightforward face shots as well as those that had been manipulated. Studies of physiognomy and the emotions were illustrated with photographs of faces stimulated by electrical charges, while eugenicists sought to arrive visually at average ‘types’ by exposing a single piece of photographic paper to multiple portrait negatives, one on top of the next, so that only the most commonly held traits appeared in the final picture. Within criminology, photographic ‘mug’ shots fixed the identities of convicted criminals, while detailed pictures of ears and other body parts enabled a crude method of tracking suspects, as today fingerprints and DNA are used. Physiology was advanced by studies of motion in the 1870s and 80s, which fixed the positions the body held through the course of a variety of activities. Using light waves beyond the visible spectrum, the invention of the X-ray toward the end of the century let physicians study internal body parts. At the end of the nineteenth century, photography's relationship to the body changed with the invention and mass marketing of George Eastman's Kodak, the first snapshot camera. The ease of use and mobility of this hand-held camera (‘you push the button; we do the
rest, ’ boasted the ads) made it an extension of one's own body. Already a ‘point and shoot’ camera, this early Kodak allowed individuals to take over many of the functions previously performed by professional photographers. Ever-growing masses of people could now make portraits and travel views of their own, with a camera handily carried anywhere. Within the snapshot photographs that emerged, the body itself was recorded in increasingly common and casual ways. Also beginning at the end of the nineteenth century, mass reproduction of photographs through new printing technologies expanded the audience for documentary and journalistic photography, which depended for its claim to veracity upon the imagined elision between the human eye and the mechanical camera (an idea manifested in the title of a play based on Christopher Isherwood's life in Berlin in the 1920s, I Am A Camera). Major examples within this genre in which the body itself figured prominently are the documentary photographs produced for the Farm Security Administration, part of the USAs efforts to ameliorate the ravages of the Depression of the 1930s, and the surrealistinspired work of photographers working in and around Paris in the 1930s, such as Hans Bellmer. Almost from the time of its invention, photography included the production of erotic imagery as a covert subset of its representations of the body. In the nineteenth century as well as the twentieth, such imagery often finessed the fine line between art and pornography. Nineteenth-century photographers of the (usually female) nude included among their customers both artists seeking escape from the expense and possible tedium of working from live models and a more general public seeking this imagery for its potential eroticism. In the first third of the twentieth century, many photographers (mostly male) turned to the female nude body as a subject that would align their work in this new medium with the more traditional arts. In the decades after World War II, photography of the body within the burgeoning mass media largely reinforced gender differences the war had momentarily eased. Fashion magazines returned in their imagery to a level of elegance and fancy dress not seen since the 1920s. Advertising photography, now in its heyday, constructed safely differing roles for men and women through images in which body posture, facial expression, grooming, and dress figured prominently. In the same postwar years, photographers working outside the commercial realm made pictures in which the body revealed strains on social relationships, as the dominance of straight, white males was questioned by new roles for women, greater freedom for people of colour, and an incipient visibility for gays and lesbians. In the 1960s photography made evident the centrality of the body to radical changes in society. While battlefield corpses had figured prominently in photographs from the American Civil War, government censors successfully ruled out any large-scale photographic representation of battle carnage until the Vietnam War, when widespread disapproval of the war propelled photographers to defy censors. Not only did journalistic pictures record the carnage brought to the body by the war in Southeast Asia and the protest against it in Europe and America, but artistic pictures seemed to reflect
symbolically the psychic stress of world events on otherwise normal bodies. In the 1970s photography and the body intersected in new ways. No longer considered a transparent record or means of abstraction, as it had been for much of its history, photography was now seen as marking the extent to which the world is mediated, coming to us already as a representation. Using photography this way, artists explored the social and cultural bases of such attributes of the body as gender, race, class, and sexual orientation. Artists used photography to document artistic performances that used the body in a very physical way to redefine experience. Feminist artists employed photography as a means to record and comment upon transformations to which they submitted their bodies. Postmodern artists in recent decades have followed the lead of these artists of the 1970s to make photographs of the body that are explicitly political, dealing with problematic notions of sexuality and self identity. In these works bodies are embedded in society, entering clearly defined social discourses at the time of their making. Photographers show the gay male body at precisely the time that the AIDS epidemic has made consensual invisibility no longer viable. Other photographers act out assumed or fictive roles, refusing to seek any ‘true’ or ‘real’ self. Still others have explored the social dimensions of race and racism by referring back to nineteenth-century photography that sought to define racial difference, thus recycling the history of photography's involvement with the body.
Method of recording permanent images by the action of light projected by a lens in a camera onto a film or other light-sensitive material. It was developed in the 19th century through the artistic aspirations of two Frenchmen, Nicéphore Niepce and Louis-JacquesMandé Daguerre, whose combined discoveries led to the invention of the first commercially successful process, the daguerreotype (1837). In addition, two Englishmen, Thomas Wedgwood and William Henry Fox Talbot, patented the negative-positive calotype process (1839) that became the forerunner of modern photographic technique. Photography was initially used for portraiture and landscapes. In the 1850s and '60s, Mathew B. Brady and Roger Fenton pioneered war photography and photojournalism. From its inception, two views of photography predominated: one approach held that the camera and its resulting images truthfully document the real world, while the other considered the camera simply to be a tool, much like a paintbrush, with which to create artistic statements. The latter notion, known as Pictorialism, held sway from the late 1860s through the first decade of the 20th century, as photographers manipulated their negatives and prints to create hazy, elaborately staged images that resembled paintings. By the 1920s and '30s, a new, more realistic style of photography gained prominence, as photographers such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams began to pursue sharply focused, detailed images. The Great Depression and two world wars inspired many photographers, including Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, to pursue documentary, often socially conscious photography. Inspired by such work, many
photojournalists, including Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, also emerged during this period. In the second half of the 20th century, the urban social scene became a subject of much interest to photographers, as did celebrity portraiture and fashion photography. At the turn of the 21st century, photographers took advantage of digital capabilities by experimenting with enormous formats and new manipulative techniques. As technological advances improve photographic equipment, materials, and techniques, the scope of photography continues to expand enormously. See also digital camera. For more information on photography, visit Britannica.com. French Literature Companion: Photography Top Home > Library > Literature & Language > French Literature Companion France was the birthplace of photography, though England (with Fox Talbot) may claim a share in the invention. It was Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833) who in the 1820s, cooperating with Daguerre, developed the process from which modern photography derives. In the 19th c. the new invention was used in France as elsewhere to record aspects of reality. It had its greatest success in portraiture [see Nadar], but also served to depict exotic places (Du Camp left memorable images of the Egypt he visited with Flaubert) or to record social reality closer to home. Scientists used the camera to investigate movement—a development which contributed to the invention of the cinematograph in France [see Cinema]. As photography became a profitable business, its status as an art was much disputed, but it found a major role in the reproduction of existing art works. The first half of the 20th c. saw significant new developments. The creation of lightweight cameras made photography more accessible to all and allowed photographers to produce spontaneous-seeming images of everyday life. The fashion industry and advertising both contributed to the development of the art. Photo-reportage developed rapidly, finding outlets in journals such as Vu (1928) and Regards (1931). Some of the most familiar images of French life were produced by photographers who came to prominence at this time, notably Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1894-1986), Henri Cartier-Bresson (b. 1908), and Robert Doisneau (1912-94). Gisèle Freund (b. 1912), an immigrant from Germany, followed Nadar's example in producing remarkable portraits of writers (Malraux, Beauvoir, Beckett, etc.). At the same time, photography was welcomed and exploited by the literary avant-garde, particularly the Surrealists. Their journals featured photography and photomontage, and Breton combined photographers' iconic images and his own text in an arresting way in Nadja. The Surrealists appreciated (e.g. in the work of Atget) the raw ‘document’ quality of the photographic image, but equally its ability to reveal the strangeness of familiar reality—this was enhanced by deliberate distortion, collage, and similar techniques. Major talents associated with this movement were the American Man Ray (1890-1976),
the Hungarian André Kertész (1894-1985), the German Germaine Krull (1897-1985), and the Transylvanian Brassaï (1899-1984), all of whom adopted Paris as their creative home. The continuing importance of photography in contemporary art can be seen, for example, in the work of Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein (1928-62). Of the French writers who have meditated on the effects of photography, the most significant is Roland Barthes. His critical essays, in Mythologies and elsewhere, express suspicion of the pseudo-real nature of the photographic image and its contribution to an illusory imaginaire [see Sartre; Lacan], but he pays homage to its quasi-magical powers in his late essay, La Chambre claire. In the first history of photography published in New York in 1849, there is the tantalizing story of an Indiana youth, James M. Wattles, trying unsuccessfully in 1828 to secure survivable pictures on writing paper placed dry in a camera obscura (precursor to the camera) after he had soaked it in potash. But, so the story goes, his parents laughed at him and bade him attend to his studies and forget about such "moonshine" thoughts. Only a few years later, W. H. Fox Talbot, a member of the English landed gentry, made what he called "photogenic drawings"--images of leaves, lace, and feathers secured on silver nitrate paper exposed in a camera obscura, the paper afterward being washed in a strong solution of salt to fix the images. The process gave Talbot what we now call a negative, and in a patent awarded in 1841, his improved process--calotype--called for contact printing the negatives on silver chloride paper for positives. Talbot's calotype process was thus the forerunner of photography's mainstream negative-positive systems that evolved ultimately to the roll film systems we know today. But in 1826 or 1827, a Frenchman, Joseph Niepce, had secured the world's earliest surviving photograph (now in the Gernsheim collection at the University of Texas at Austin) on a pewter plate sensitized with bitumen and exposed for eight hours in a camera obscura. He called the direct positive image of a pigeon house and barn next to his home a heliograph. From 1829 until his death in 1833, Niepce worked in partnership with another Frenchman, Louis J. M. Daguerre, who in 1839 invented a means of taking photographs on copper plates lightly coated with sensitized silver (similarly exposed without a negative in a camera of new design) and "developed" over mercury fumes. That same year, the French government purchased the rights to the new "daguerreotype" process and donated them freely to the world. A daguerreotype, such as might be found today among old family possessions or in antique stores, was covered with glass and placed in a wood or leather case (usually about 3 1/2 by 4 inches in size), both to protect it and to mimic the manner in which miniature oil portraits were packaged. Millions of daguerreotypes (mostly portraits) were made the world over from 1840 to about 1860. There followed cheaper methods of securing a cased image photo on glass, ambrotype, and on iron plates, tintype, the latter process remaining popular until well into the twentieth century at seaside resorts and amusement parks. In a sidelight to daguerreotype history, the first U.S. camera patent was awarded in May 1840 for a more primitive version of Daguerre's camera to New Yorker Alexander S. Wolcott, a manufacturer of instruments and dental equipment. But his camera was not equipped with a lens. Instead,
sunlight was directed through an opening and reflected on the image plate by an internal concave mirror, restricting picture size to 2 by 2 1/2 inches. Photography's formative years in America followed a pattern similar to the American experience in art. Many who took up the daguerreotype process were house, sign, or carriage painters. Some, like their contemporaries in folk artistry, traveled the back roads of the nation as itinerant photographers. Much credit is due the American painter and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who visited Daguerre in 1839 and afterward not only taught the daguerreotype process to Mathew Brady and a host of Brady's peers but instilled in his students an appreciation for the rudiments of traditional art techniques. Although daguerreotype cameras were carried on several expeditions to the Canadian border, the American West, and the Yucatan, the process was ill suited to outdoor use. In 1849, American rights were secured to Talbot's calotype process, but by then, both a better (but short-lived) French paper negative and three newly invented glass negative modes were taking center stage. The process adopted after 1855 by most photographers called for sensitizing the glass negative with collodion (ether mixed with gun cotton) and exposing the plate in the camera while it was still wet. It is understandable that during the subsequent thirty-year wet-plate era, photography continued to remain largely in the hands of professionals. There is no recorded manual for amateurs, for example, prior to one published by a wealthy Baltimorean, George B. Coale, in 1858, and it is doubtful that even this pocket-size booklet achieved wide distribution. Just as landscape painting in America lagged behind oil portraiture, so American landscape photography developed slowly. The United States at mid-century lacked a leisure class to adopt photography as a hobby, as did many amateurs in Europe. In addition, Americans appear to have preferred scenic lithographs rather than photographs, whereas abroad, noted photographers and publishers sold numerous editions of large photographs of cityscapes and tourist meccas in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Public excitement with the opening of the American West probably had much to do with the success of such photographers as Eadweard Muybridge, Carlton E. Watkins, William H. Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Andrew J. Russell in selling large prints made with new "mammoth-plate" cameras of scenes in the wilds of today's Yosemite, Yellowstone, and other national parks and territories. Some of these photographs were offered in the same galleries that handled paintings by artists of the Hudson River school. The introduction in 1860 of portrait photographs mounted on cards--the carte de visite, or visiting-card style upped to a larger cabinet size in 1866--ended the reign of daguerreotype photography. It also led to the creation of the family photo album and to a new public taste for flamboyantly posed portraits of celebrities, using dramatic lights and period props. As the name Brady dominated the daguerreotype era, Napoleon Sarony became the undoubted American master of the card portrait era (1860s to the turn of the century). Nevertheless, it was a pioneer Brady carte de visite of Abraham Lincoln, widely reproduced and distributed in the 1860 presidential campaign, that Lincoln later said helped elect him president.
Of equal and perhaps greater significance was the concurrent proliferation of card stereographs--double pictures mounted side by side for viewing in three dimensions in hand-held or newly manufactured home console viewing devices. The card stereoview format provides the world today with its most complete record of the transition from an agrarian to an industrial and urban way of life. Card stereoviews aroused public interest not only in views (domestic and foreign) but in fashion, genre, and news events photographs (a stereocard series, for example, portrayed the 1871 Chicago fire). Public viewing of card stereographs in the home is often characterized as a nineteenth-century form of American television. Photographers who attended their national convention in Chicago in 1880 literally witnessed the birth of photography's modern era. A variety of reliable dry-plate glass negatives was shown, which could be sold to the public as well as the professional, ready-made for use at any time. A revolution in the medium and its practice was at hand. Eight years later when George Eastman brought out the Kodak (followed shortly by the first roll film), an estimated 84 million of the new dry plates had been sold. The manufacture of cameras designed for the new plates further doubled during the years 1895-1900. But like many revolutions, this one, too, became fragmented. In the early 1880s, while photographers such as William Kurtz were specializing in taking portraits at night with flash powder, the journalist and social reformer Jacob Riis seized on flashlight photography as a means of better conveying the misery of slum life in New York City's tenements. This attracted the attention of a young civil service commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, who as police commissioner (1895-1897) frequently took Riis with him on unannounced nighttime checks of city enforcement of health and safety regulations. At the turn of the century, other documentary photographers focused their cameras on the "vanishing race" of American Indians (Edward Curtis and Joseph Dixon were two), street life in New York (Percy Byron), Chicago (Sigmund Krausz), San Francisco's Chinatown (Arnold Genthe), and the arrival in New York of a new generation of immigrants (Lewis Hine). But there was little or no professional or fraternal interplay between any of these now celebrated documentary photographers and those of an emerging new school of art photographers. The works of the latter were individually printed and reproduced separately from text in a new publication, Camera Notes, edited by Alfred Stieglitz. To the Japanese-German dramatist, poet, and critic Sadakichi Hartmann, artistic photography, Stieglitz, and the New York Camera Club were "three different names for one and the same thing." But Hartmann also noted that the public at large never saw Camera Notes and that "ninety-nine persons out of a hundred [were] not yet familiar with the term 'artistic photography,' much less with its aspirations and aims." The New York Camera Club was one of many such clubs established at the close of the nineteenth century. On their first outing in 1890, photographers in the New England club filled a yacht, which then "sailed down Narragansett Bay" with wealthy amateurs carrying some thirty view cameras and fifty or more Kodaks and Hawk-Eyes. But in launching the Photo-Secession movement in art photography a decade later, Stieglitz broke away from the camera club element. In a new publication, Camera Work
(published from 1903 to 1917), he included the soft-focus pictorial, and more avant-garde works of a new elite group of photographers, among them Edward Steichen, Clarence White, Gertrude Käsebier, Alvin Langdon Coburn, F. Holland Day, Rudolph Eickemeyer, and Paul Strand. It was a time, internationally, of great artistic innovation (the cubist explosion in France, for example). Paul Strand, at age twenty-five, caught the spirit in 1915 when he produced his first abstract photographs. Stieglitz thereupon gave Strand a one-man exhibition and devoted the final issue of Camera Work to his works. During the 1920s, Stieglitz himself abandoned exhibiting pictorial photographs in favor of works by Picasso, Rodin, Marin, and other painters and sculptors. New York's famed Julien Levy Gallery (1931-1949) opened with an exhibition of surrealist works by George Platt Lynes and other photographers before mounting the works of "modern" artists such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. A new realism became the vogue at this time when some of the best photographers-Strand, Steichen, Edward Weston, and later Ansel Adams--sought to make "straight" photographs --pictures unmanipulated, unsentimental, and sharply focused. The appearance of three new landmark cameras--the 35-mm Leica I, wide-aperture-lens Ermanox, and twin-lens-reflex Rolleiflex--greatly enhanced the new format. In the hands of Steichen and Irving Penn, these and other new small cameras provided appropriate tools for yet another new vogue, fashion photography. But more important, news photographers could abandon their bulky Graflex cameras, flash guns, and fast tank development in the darkroom. Using the new cameras and available light, such photographers as Eric Salomon in Europe and Albert Eisenstaedt, Margaret BourkeWhite, and others in the United States became the pioneers of modern photojournalism. Socially concerned photographers such as Aaron Siskind made an early record (1928) of slum conditions in Harlem--even as his older and then unknown contemporary James Van Der Zee recorded in his studio, and sometimes in street scenes, the last vestiges of the black community's earlier social fabric. Before 1900, the manufacture of cameras, emulsion-coated dry plates, photographic paper, and so on, was conducted by small firms. But the arrival on the scene of George Eastman and the dawn of a new era of business trusts and chain-store retail merchandising changed all this. By the turn of the century, photography, like the horse and buggy, was poised for a coming age of mechanization. At the outset, photography was clearly in the lead; there were, by 1900, 100,000 Kodak cameras alone in the hands of a new generation of amateurs, whereas only some 8,000 horseless carriages were registered by this time. During the years 1889-1909, production of photographic apparatus and materials grew at an annual rate of 11 percent, as against a growth rate of only about 4.7 percent annually by U.S. industrial production in general. In the latter years of the twentieth century, photography remained well ahead in the race, if there was one, with the horseless carriage, reaching an annual level of 10.7 billion in the number of photographs made by amateurs at the outset of the 1980s. Until Kodachrome color film reached the market in 1935, no successful mode for combining color screens in a camera to produce color photographs had been perfected, although by the 1890s screens could be combined for three-dimensional viewing like card
stereographs and could be projected on a wall or screen by a magic lantern. Polaroid introduced its first instant-picture camera in 1947, and the following year the manufacture of Nikon cameras began, leading after the Korean War to Japan's "invasion" of the U.S. camera market. The rudiments of camera automation appeared just before the outbreak of World War II with the development of prototype exposure control and flash synchronization systems. The Metropolitan Museum of Art accepted its first collection of photographs (personal photographs belonging to Stieglitz) in 1926, fourteen years before the trend-setting department of photography was established at New York's Museum of Modern Art. When the J. Paul Getty Museum in California mounted a year-long series of five exhibitions to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the daguerreotype invention, the title chosen for the series was Experimental Photography, which allowed subjective illustration of early daguerreotype, calotype, and wet-plate-era works; photographs by painter photographers such as Thomas Eakins and Charles Sheeler; industrial and commonplace scenes artistically rendered by Strand, Weston, Walker Evans, and others; and a new subjectivity from the 1940s to the 1960s when realism yielded to a new ambiguity and introspection in photographs by André Kertesz, Harry Callahan, and W. Eugene Smith. Over the years, other exhibitions have categorized the motivations and achievements of great American photographers in other ways. The first comprehensive published study was completed by Time-Life Books in the 1970s. Several critics have contended that every decade, in effect, imposes its own aesthetic. But one can find books of photographers' works covering the New Deal era that, on the one hand, suggest an "unbounded belief in the potential of growth," and on the other, portray works by Farm Security Administration photographers of the dust bowl conditions that led to John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The immediacy of repeated crime, warfare, and other shocking scenes on television may also have dulled the public's ability to appreciate or respond to documentary photographs as in former times. Would photographs by Alexander Gardner of dead soldiers on the battlefield at Gettysburg today inspire a Gettysburg address? The development of photography in Russia during the nineteenth century followed a history similar to that of other European countries. After Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot made public their methods for capturing images on lightsensitized surfaces in 1839, I. Kh. Gammel, corresponding member to the Russian Academy of Sciences, visited both inventors to learn more about their work and collected samples of daguerreotypes and calotypes for study by Russian scientists. The Academy subsequently commissioned Russian scientists to further investigate both processes. As elsewhere, Russian experimenters quickly introduced a variety of refinements to the initial processes. Photography found immediate popular success in Russia with the establishment of daguerreotype portrait studios in the 1840s. The similarity of the photograph to the Orthodox icon (an image that is believed to be a direct and truthful record of a physical being) heightened the early reception of photography and resulted in the persistence of
portraiture as a major genre in Russia. While the first generation of photographers was largely foreign, native practitioners soon appeared. Some, such as Sergei Levitsky, achieved international recognition for their role in the development of photography. A personal acquaintance of Daguerre, Levitsky established studios in both France and Russia, serving as court photographer for the Romanovs and Napoleon III. During the later nineteenth century, Russian photography became institutionalized with the establishment of journals, professional societies, and exhibitions. While photography was initially largely rejected as an art, it became widely accepted with the emergence of Realism. Russian photographers used the camera to capture the changing social landscape that accompanied the liberation of the serfs and growing urbanization. Simultaneously, ethnographic photography became an important genre with the expansion of the Russian Empire and the opening of Central Asia. Numerous photographic albums and research projects documented the peoples, customs, landscape, and buildings of diverse parts of the Russian Empire. With the rise of Symbolism, a younger generation of pictorialist photographers rejected the photograph as document in pursuit of more aestheticizing manipulated images. At the turn of the century, technological developments led to the appearance of popular illustrated publications and the emergence of modern press photography. The Bulla family established the first Russian photo agency; they documented such events as the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, and the 1917 Revolutions. The growing commercial availability of inexpensive cameras and products rendered photography more pervasive in Russia. However, with the commercialization of photography, Russian practitioners became increasingly dependent upon foreign equipment and materials. With the outbreak of World War I, photographers were largely cut off from their supplies, and the ensuing crisis severely limited photographic activity until the mid-1920s. After the October Revolution, Russian photography followed a unique path due to the ideological imperatives of the Soviet regime. The Bolsheviks quickly recognized the propaganda potential of photography and nationalized the photographic industry. During the civil war, special committees collected historical photographs, documented contemporary events, and produced photopropaganda. In the early 1920s, Russian modernist artists, such as Alexander Rodchenko, experimented with the technique of photomontage, the assembly of photographic fragments into larger compositions. With the growing politicization of art, photomontage and photography soon became important media for the creation of ideological images. The 1920s also witnessed the foundation of the Soviet illustrated mass press. Despite a shortage of experienced photojournalists, the development of the illustrated press cultivated a new generation of Soviet photographers. Mikhail Koltsov, editor of the popular magazine Ogonek, laid the groundwork for modern photojournalism in the Soviet Union by establishing national and international mechanisms for the production, distribution, and preservation of photographic material. Koltsov actively promoted photographic education and the further development of both amateur and professional Soviet photography through the magazine Sovetskoye foto.
During the First Five-Year Plan, creative debates emerged between modernist photographers and professional Soviet photojournalists. While both groups shunned aestheticizing pictorialist approaches and were ideologically committed to the development of uniquely Soviet photography, differences arose concerning creative methods, especially the relative priority to be given to the form versus content of the Soviet photograph. These debates stimulated the further development of Soviet documentary photography. The illustrated magazine USSR in Construction (SSSR na stroike; 1930 - 1941, 1949) was an important venue for Soviet documentary photography. Published in Russian, English, French, and German editions, it featured the work of top photographers and photomontage artists. Like the nineteenth-century ethnographic albums, USSR in Construction presented the impact of Soviet industrialization and modernization in diverse parts of the USSR in film-like photographic essays. As the 1930s progressed, official Soviet photography became increasingly lackluster and formulaic. Published photographs were subjected to extensive retouching and manipulation - not for creative ends, but for the falsification of reality and history. An abrupt change took place during World War II, when Soviet photojournalists equipped with 35-millimeter cameras produced spontaneous images that captured the terrors and triumphs of war. Soviet amateur photography flourished in the late 1920s with numerous worker photography circles. Amateur activity was stimulated by the development of the Soviet photography industry and the introduction of the first domestic camera in 1930. Later that decade, however, government regulations increasingly restricted the activity of amateur photographers, and the number of circles quickly diminished. The material hardships of the war years further compounded this situation, practically bringing amateur photographic activity to a standstill. With independent activity severely circumscribed, Soviet photography was essentially limited to the carefully controlled area of professional photojournalism. During the Thaw of the late 1950s, the appearance of new amateur groups led to the cultivation of a new generation of photographers engaged in social photography that captured everyday life. Their activity, however, was largely underground. By the 1970s, photography played an important role in Soviet nonconformist and conceptual art. Artists such as Boris Mikhailov appropriated and manipulated photographic imagery in a radical critique of photography's claims to truth. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many photographic publications and industrial enterprises gradually disappeared. While professional practitioners quickly adapted to the new market system and creative photographers achieved international renown, the main area of activity was consumer snapshot photography, which flourished in Russia with the return of foreign photographic firms. Early Developments The camera itself is based on optical principles known at least since the age of Aristotle; indeed, a filmless version was in use in the mid-1500s as a sketching device for artists. Called the camera obscura (Lat.,=dark chamber), it consisted of a small, lightproof box
with a pinhole or lens on one side and a translucent screen on the opposite side. This screen registered, in a manner suitable for tracing, the inverted image transmitted through the lens. The human eye was the prototype for this device, which functioned as a primitive extension of seeing. Most experiments in photographic technology were directed toward perfecting the medium as a surrogate, more sophisticated eye. The Invention of Photography The necessary first breakthrough in photography was in a different, not eye-centered area —that of making permanent photographic images. Employing data from the researches of Johann Heinrich Schulze—who, in 1727, discovered that silver nitrate darkened upon exposure to light—Thomas Wedgwood and Sir Humphry Davy, early in the 19th cent., created what we now call photograms. These were made by placing assorted objects on paper soaked in silver nitrate and exposing them to sunlight. Those areas of the paper covered by the objects remained white; the rest blackened after exposure to the light. Davy and Wedgwood found no way of arresting the chemical action at this stage, however, and their images lasted only a short time before darkening entirely. Photography's basic principles, processes, and materials were discovered virtually simultaneously by a diverse group of individuals of different nationalities, working for the most part entirely independently of one another. The results of their experiments coalesced in the first half of the 19th cent., creating a tool for communication that was to become as powerful and significant as the printing press. Four men figure principally in the establishment of the rudiments of photographic science. The French physicist, Joseph Nicéphore Niepce, made the first negative (on paper) in 1816 and the first known photograph (on metal; he called it a heliograph) in 1826. By the latter date he had directed his investigations away from paper surfaces and negatives (having invented, in the meantime, what is now called the photogravure process of mechanical reproduction) and toward sensitized metallic surfaces. In 1827 Niepce had also begun his association with Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, a French painter who had been experimenting along parallel lines. A partnership was formed and they collaborated until Niepce's death in 1833, after which Daguerre continued their work for the next six years. In 1839 he announced the invention of a method for making a direct positive image on a silver plate—the daguerreotype. Daguerre's announcement was a source of dismay to the English scientist William Henry Fox Talbot, who had been experimenting independently along related lines for years. Talbot had evolved a method for making a paper negative from which an infinite number of paper positives could be created. He had also worked out an effective although imperfect technique for permanently “fixing” his images. Concerned that he might lose the rights to his own invention, the calotype process, Talbot wrote to the French Academy of Sciences, asserting the priority of his own invention. He then lost no time in presenting his researches to England's Royal Society, of which he was a distinguished member.
All three pioneers, Niepce, Daguerre, and Talbot, along with Sir John Herschel—who in 1819 discovered the suitability of hyposulfite of soda, or “hypo,” as a fixing agent for sensitized paper images and who is generally credited with giving the new medium its name—deserve to share the title Inventor of Photography. Each made a vital and unique contribution to the invention of the photographic process. The process developed by Daguerre and Niepce was, in a grand gesture, purchased from them by the French government and given, free of patent restrictions, to the world. Talbot patented his own process and then published a description of it, entitled The Pencil of Nature (1844–46). This book, containing 24 original prints, was the first ever illustrated with photographs. The Daguerreotype Daguerreotypy spread rapidly, except in England, where Daguerre had secretly patented his process before selling it to the French government. The legal problems attending the pursuit of photography as a profession account in part for the widespread influence of amateurs (e.g., Nadar, the French pioneer photographer) on the early development of the medium. The popularity of the daguerreotype is attributable to two principal factors. The first of these was the Victorian passion for novelty and for the accumulation of material objects, which found its perfect paradigm in these silvery, exquisitely detailed miniatures. The second was the greatly increasing demand from a rising middle class for qualitatively good but—compared to a painter's fee—inexpensive family portraits. The cheaper tintype eventually made such likenesses available to all. The principal shortcoming of the daguerreotype and its variants was inherent in its nature as a direct positive. Unique and unreproducible, it could not serve for the production of any image intended for wide distribution. This factor, combined with the lengthy exposure time necessitated by the process, restricted its function to portraiture. The vast majority of surviving daguerreotypes are portraits; images of any other subject are exceedingly rare. Nevertheless, for 20 years the daguerreotype completely overshadowed the greater utility of the calotype. In the United States, where it was equally popular, the daguerreotype was promoted by John W. Draper and Samuel F. B. Morse. The Calotype The calotype's paper negative made possible the reproduction of photographic images. The unavoidably coarse paper base for the negative, however, eliminated the delicate detail that made the daguerreotype so appealing. This lack of precision was understood and used to advantage by the Scottish painter David Octavius Hill and his assistant, Robert Adamson. From 1843 to 1848 they made an extensive series of calotype portraits of Scottish clergymen, intended to serve only as studies for a group portrait in oils, that stands today among the major bodies of work in the medium. Hill and Adamson composed their portraits in broad planes, juxtaposing bold masses of light and dark, creating works that are monumental in feeling despite their small size. The Collodion Process
The dilemma of detail versus reproducibility was resolved in 1851 by an Englishman, Frederick Scott Archer, who introduced the collodion process. This method, also known as the “wet plate” technique, involved coating a glass plate with silver iodide in suspension, exposing it while still wet, and developing it immediately. Once fixed and dried, the glass plate was covered with a thin, flexible film containing the negative image, the definition and detail of which approached that of the daguerreotype. As this process merged the advantages of both its predecessors, it was universally adopted within a very short time. The Impact of Early Photography With the advent of the collodion process came mass production and dissemination of photographic prints. The inception of these visual documents of personal and public history engendered vast changes in people's perception of history, of time, and of themselves. The concept of privacy was greatly altered as cameras were used to record most areas of human life. The ubiquitous presence of photographic machinery eventually changed humankind's sense of what was suitable for observation. The photograph was considered incontestable proof of an event, experience, or state of being. To fulfill the mounting and incessant demand for more images, photographers spread out to every corner of the world, recording all the natural and manufactured phenomena they could find. By the last quarter of the 19th cent. most households could boast respectable photographic collections. These were in three main forms: the family album, which contained cabinet portraits and the smaller cartes-de-visite and tintypes; scrapbooks containing large prints of views from various parts of the world; and boxes of stereoscope cards, which in combination with the popular stereo viewer created an effective illusion of three-dimensionality. A number of photographers, including Timothy O'Sullivan, J. K. Hillers, and W. H. Jackson, accompanied exploratory expeditions to the new frontiers in the American West, while John Thomson returned from China and Maxime Du Camp from Egypt with records of vistas and peoples never before seen by Western eyes. Roger Fenton, who photographed the Crimean conflict, and Mathew Brady's photographic corps, who documented the American Civil War, provided graphic evidence of the hellishness of combat. Further Developments E. J. Marey, the painter Thomas Eakins, and Eadweard Muybridge all devised means for making stop-action photographs that demonstrated the gap between what the mind thinks it sees and what the eye actually perceives. Muybridge's major work, Animal Locomotion (1887), remains a basic source for artists and scientists alike. As accessory lenses were perfected, the camera's vision extended both telescopically and microscopically; the moon and the microorganism became accessible as photographic images.
The introduction of the halftone process (see photoengraving; printing) in 1881 made possible the accurate reproduction of photographs in books and newspapers. In combination with new improvements in photographic technology, including dry plates and smaller cameras, which made photographing faster and less cumbersome, the halftone made immediate reportage feasible and paved the way for news photography. George Eastman's introduction in 1888 of roll film and the simple Kodak box camera provided everyone with the means of making photographs for themselves. Meanwhile, studies in sensitometry, the new science of light-sensitive materials, made exposure and processing more practicable. Art and Documentary Photography The fight to certify photography as a fine art has been among the medium's dominant philosophical preoccupations since its inception. Photography's legitimacy as an art form was challenged by artists and critics, who seized upon the mechanical and chemical aspects of the photographic process as proof that photography was, at best, a craft. Perhaps because so many painters came to rely so heavily on the photograph as a source of imagery, they insisted that photography could only be a handmaiden to the arts. To prove that photography was indeed an art, photographers at first imitated the painting of the time. Enormous popularity was achieved by such photographers as O. J. Rejlander and Henry Peach Robinson, who created sentimental genre scenes by printing from multiple negatives. Julia Margaret Cameron blurred her images to achieve a painterly softness of line, creating a series of remarkably powerful soft-focus portraits of her celebrated friends. In opposition to the painterly aesthetic in photography was P. H. Emerson and other early advocates of what has since become known as “straight” photography. According to this approach the photographic image should not be tampered with or subjected to handwork or other affectations lest it lose its integrity. Emerson proposed this philosophy in his controversial and influential book, Naturalistic Photography (1889). Appropriately, Emerson was the first to recognize the importance of the work of Alfred Stieglitz, who battled for photography's place among the arts during the first part of the 20th cent. In revolt against the entrenched imitation of genre painting known as “salon” photography, Stieglitz founded a movement which he called the Photo-Secession, related to the radical secession movements in painting. He initiated publication of a magazine, Camera Work (1903–17), which was a forum for the Photo-Secession and for enlightened opinion and critical thought in all the arts. It remains the most sumptuously and meticulously produced photographic quarterly in the history of the medium. In New York City, Stieglitz opened three galleries, the first (1908–17) called “291” (from its address at 291 Fifth Ave.), then the Intimate Gallery (1925–30), and An American Place (1930–46), where photographic work was hung beside contemporary, often controversial, work in other media.
Stieglitz's own photographs and those of several other Photo-Secessionists—Edward Steichen, one of his early protégés; Frederick Evans, the British architectural photographer; and the portraitist Alvin L. Coburn—adhered with relative strictness to a “straight” aesthetic. The quality of their works, despite a pervasive self-consciousness, was consistently of the highest craftsmanship. Stieglitz's overriding concern with the concept “art for art's sake” kept him, and the audience he built for the medium, from an appreciation of an equally important branch of photography: the documentary. The power of the photograph as record was demonstrated in the 19th cent., as when William H. Jackson's photographs of the Yellowstone area persuaded the U.S. Congress to set that territory aside as a national park. In the early 20th cent. photographers and journalists were beginning to use the medium to inform the public on crucial issues in order to generate social change. Taking as their precedents the work of such men as Jackson and reporter Jacob Riis (whose photographs of New York City slums resulted in much-needed legislation), documentarians like Lewis Hine and James Van DerZee began to build a photographic tradition whose central concerns had little to do with the concept of art. The photojournalist sought to build, strengthen, or change public opinion by means of novel, often shocking images. The finished form of the documentary image was the inexpensive multiple, the magazine or newspaper reproduction. For a time the two traditions, art photography and documentary photography, appeared to be merged within the work of one man, Paul Strand. Strand's works combined a documentary concern with a lean, modernist vision related to the avant-garde art of Europe. The Aesthetics of Photography Seeking to determine the particular aesthetics of photography, the American Berenice Abbott and the Frenchmen Eugène Atget, André Kertész, and Henri Cartier-Bresson developed intensely personal styles. The exponents of surrealism in France and of futurism in Italy and the various German art movements that were focused in the Bauhaus all explored the medium of photography. The international exhibition “Film und Foto,” held in Stuttgart in 1929, helped to make formal a purely photographic aesthetic. The works exhibited combined elements of functionalism and abstraction. Photographic subject matter shifted from the past to the present—a present of new forms in machinery and architecture, new concern with the experience of the working classes, and a new interest in the timeless forms of nature. In California during the 1920s and 30s Edward Weston and a handful of kindred spirits founded the f/64 group, taking their name from the smallest lens opening, that which provides the greatest precision of line and detail. This small and unofficial group—which included Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams, and Willard Van Dyke—came to dominate photographic art, overshadowing the pictorial aesthetic. They and their imitators eschewed all post-exposure handwork, and worked with 8 × 10-in. view cameras in order to obtain the largest possible negatives from which to make straightforward contact prints. They limited their subject matter to static things: the still life, the distant or closely
viewed landscape, and the formal portrait. The influential teacher Minor White became known for his poetic, visionary work related in technique to this straight approach. The Impact of New Technology The development of the 35-mm or “candid” camera by Oskar Barnack of the Ernst Leitz company, first marketed in 1925, made documentarians infinitely more mobile and less conspicuous, while the manufacture of faster black-and-white film enabled them to work without a flash in situations with a minimum of light. Color film for transparencies (slides) was introduced in 1935 and color negative film in 1942. Portable lighting equipment was perfected, and in 1947 the Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a positive print in seconds, was placed on the market. All of these technological advances granted the photojournalist enormous and unprecedented versatility. The advent of large-circulation picture magazines, such as Life (begun 1936) and Look (begun 1937), provided an outlet and a vast audience for documentary work. At the same time a steady stream of convulsive national and international events provided a wealth of material for the extended photo-essay, the documentarian's natural mode. One of these was the Great Depression of the 1930s, which proved to be the source of an important body of documentary work. Under the leadership of Roy Stryker, the photographic division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) began to make an archive of images of America during this epoch of crisis. Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Russell Lee, and Dorothea Lange of the FSA group photographed the cultural disintegration generated by the Depression and the concomitant disappearance of rural lifestyles. With the coming of World War II photographers, including Margaret Bourke-White, Edward Steichen, W. Eugene Smith, Lee Miller, and Robert Capa, documented the global conflict. The war was a stimulus to photography in other ways as well. From the stress analysis of metals to aerial surveillance, the medium was a crucial tool in many areas of the war effort, and, in the urgency of war, numerous technological discoveries and advances were made that ultimately benefited all photographers. Modern Photography After the war museums and art schools opened their doors to photography, a trend that has continued to the present. Photographers began to break free of the oppressive strictures of the straight aesthetic and documentary modes of expression. As exemplified by Robert Frank in his highly influential book-length photo-essay, The Americans (1959), the new documentarians commenced probing what has been called the “social landscape,” often mirroring in their images the anxiety and alienation of urban life. Such introspection naturally led to an increasingly personal form of documentary photography, as in the works of J. H. Lartigue and Diane Arbus. Many young photographers felt little inhibition against handwork, collage, multiple images, and other forms that were anathema to practitioners of the straight aesthetic. Since the 1960s photography has become an increasingly dominant medium within the
visual arts. Many painters and printmakers, including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and David Hockney have blended photography with other modes of expression, including computer imaging in mixed media compositions at both large and small scale. Contemporary photographers who use more traditional methods to explore non-traditional subjects include Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. The 1990s brought the first attempt to provide a fully integrated photographic system. Aimed at the amateur photographer, the Advanced Photo System (APS) was developed by an international consortium of camera and film manufacturers. The keystone of the new system is a magnetic coating that enables the camera, film, and photofinishing equipment to communicate. The cameras are self-loading, can be switched among three different formats (classic, or 4 by 6 in.; hi vision, or 4 by 7 in.; and panoramic, or 4 by 11.5 in.), and are fully automatic (auto-focus, auto-exposure—“point-and-shoot”). The film is a new, smaller size (24 mm), has an improved polyester plastic base, and two magnetic strips that record the exposure and framing parameters for each picture and allow the user to add a brief notation to each frame. The photofinishing equipment can read the magnetic data on the film and adjust the developing of each negative to compensate for the conditions. After processing, the negatives (still encased in the cassette) are returned along with the photographs and an index sheet of thumbnail-size contact prints from which reprints and enlargements can be selected. Other Aspects of Photography In the contemporary world the practical applications of the photographic medium are legion: it is an important tool in education, medicine, commerce, criminology, and the military. Its scientific applications include aerial mapping and surveying, geology, reconnaissance, meteorology, archaeology, and anthropology. New techniques such as holography, a means of creating a three-dimensional image in space, continue to expand the medium's technological and creative horizons. In astronomy the charge coupled device (CCD) can detect and register even a single photon of light. Digital Technology By the end of the 20th cent. digital imaging and processing and computer-based techniques had made it possible to manipulate images in many ways, creating revolutionary changes in photography. Digital technology allowed for a fundamental change in the nature of photographic technique. Instead of light passing through a lens and striking emulsion on film, digital photography uses sensors and color filters. In one technique three filters are arranged in a mosaic pattern on top of the photosensitive layer. Each filter allows only one color (red, green, or blue) to pass through to the pixel beneath it. In the other technique, three separate photosensitive layers are embedded in silicon. Since silicon absorbs different colors at different depths, each layer allows a different color to pass through. When stacked together, a full color pixel results. In both techniques the photosensitive material converts images into a series of numbers that are then translated back into tonal values and printed. Using computers, various numbers can easily be changed, thus altering colors, rearranging pictorial elements, or combining
photographs with other kinds of images. Some digital cameras record directly onto computer disks or into a computer, where the images can be manipulated at will. Bibliography See B. Newhall, The History of Photography: 1839 to the Present Day (5th rev. ed. 1982); R. Bolton, Contest of Meaning (1992); G. Batchen, Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (1999); J. Szarkowski, Looking at Photographs (1999); M. J. Langford, Basic Photography (2001); T. Ang, Digital Photography: An Introduction (2003). Among the many outstanding volumes of collected photographs are E. Steichen, ed., The Family of Man (1955) and American Album (1968; comp. by the ed. of American Heritage); V. Goldberg, Photography in Print (1988); W. J. Mitchell, The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Age (1993). Photography (IPA: [fә'tɒgrәfi] or IPA: [fә'tɑːgrәfi]) (from Greek φωτο and γραφία) is the process, activity and art of creating still or moving pictures by recording radiation on a sensitive medium, such as a film, or an electronic sensor. Light patterns reflected or emitted from objects activate a sensitive chemical or electronic sensor during a timed exposure, usually through a photographic lens in a device known as a camera that also stores the resulting information chemically or electronically. Photography has many uses for business, science, art and pleasure.
Lens and mounting of a large-format camera.
A historic camera: the Contax S of 1949 — the first pentaprism SLR.
Nikon F of 1959 — the first 35mm film system camera. The word "photography" comes from the Greek φώς (phos) "light" + γραφίς (graphis) "stylus", "paintbrush" or γραφή (graphê) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning "drawing with light." Traditionally, the products of photography have been called negatives and photographs, commonly shortened to photos. The discipline of making lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for the cinema is dealt with under Cinematography
The camera or camera obscura is the image-forming device, and photographic film or a silicon electronic image sensor is the sensing medium. The respective recording medium can be the film itself, or a digital electronic or magnetic memory. Photographers control the camera and lens to "expose" the light recording material (such as film) to the required amount of light to form a "latent image" (on film) or "raw file" (in digital cameras) which, after appropriate processing, is converted to a usable image. Digital cameras replace film with an electronic image sensor based on light-sensitive electronics such as charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor (CMOS) technology. The resulting digital image is stored electronically, but can be reproduced on paper or film. The movie camera is a type of photographic camera which takes a rapid sequence of photographs on strips of film. In contrast to a still camera, which captures a single snapshot at a time, the movie camera takes a series of images, each called a "frame". This is accomplished through an intermittent mechanism. The frames are later played back in a movie projector at a specific speed, called the "frame rate" (number of frames per second). While viewing, a person's eyes and brain merge the separate pictures together to create the illusion of motion. In all but certain specialized cameras, the process of obtaining a usable exposure must involve the use, manually or automatically, of a few controls to ensure the photograph is
clear, sharp and well illuminated. The controls usually include but are not limited to the following:
Focus - the adjustment to place the sharpest focus where it is desired on the subject. Aperture – adjustment of the iris, measured as f-number, which controls the amount of light passing through the lens. Aperture also has an effect on focus and depth of field, namely, the smaller the opening aperture, the less light but the greater the depth of field--that is, the greater the range within which objects appear to be sharply focused. The current focal length divided by the f-number gives the actual aperture size in millimeters. Shutter speed – adjustment of the speed (often expressed either as fractions of seconds or as an angle, with mechanical shutters) of the shutter to control the amount of time during which the imaging medium is exposed to light for each exposure. Shutter speed may be used to control the amount of light striking the image plane; 'faster' shutter speeds (that is, those of shorter duration) decrease both the amount of light and the amount of image blurring from motion of the subject and/or camera. White balance – on digital cameras, electronic compensation for the color temperature associated with a given set of lighting conditions, ensuring that white light is registered as such on the imaging chip and therefore that the colors in the frame will appear natural. On mechanical, film-based cameras, this function is served by the operator's choice of film stock or with color correction filters. In addition to using white balance to register natural coloration of the image, photographers may employ white balance to aesthetic end, for example white balancing to a blue object in order to obtain a warm color temperature. Metering – measurement of exposure so that highlights and shadows are exposed according to the photographer's wishes. Many modern cameras meter and set exposure automatically. Before automatic exposure, correct exposure was accomplished with the use of a separate light metering device or by the photographer's knowledge and experience of gauging correct settings. To translate the amount of light into a usable aperture and shutter speed, the meter needs to adjust for the sensitivity of the film or sensor to light. This is done by setting the "film speed" or ISO sensitivity into the meter. ISO speed – traditionally used to "tell the camera" the film speed of the selected film on film cameras, ISO speeds are employed on modern digital cameras as an indication of the system's gain from light to numerical output and to control the automatic exposure system. A correct combination of ISO speed, aperture, and shutter speed leads to an image that is neither too dark nor too light. Auto-focus point – on some cameras, the selection of a point in the imaging frame upon which the auto-focus system will attempt to focus. Many Single-lens reflex cameras (SLR) feature multiple auto-focus points in the viewfinder.
Many other elements of the imaging device itself may have a pronounced effect on the quality and/or aesthetic effect of a given photograph; among them are:
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Focal length and type of lens (telephoto or "long" lens, macro, wide angle, fisheye, or zoom) Filters placed between the subject and the light recording material, either in front of or behind the lens Inherent sensitivity of the medium to light intensity and color/wavelengths. The nature of the light recording material, for example its resolution as measured in pixels or grains of silver halide.
Controlling the photographic exposure and rendering
A photographer using a flash. Camera controls are inter-related. The total amount of light reaching the film plane (the "exposure") changes with the duration of exposure, aperture of the lens, and, the effective focal length of the lens (which in variable focal length lenses, can change as the lens is zoomed). Changing any of these controls can alter the exposure. Many cameras may be set to adjust most or all of these controls automatically. This automatic functionality is useful for occasional photographers in many situations. The duration of an exposure is referred to as shutter speed, often even in cameras that don't have a physical shutter, and is typically measured in fractions of a second. Aperture is expressed by an f-number or f-stop (derived from focal ratio), which is proportional to the ratio of the focal length to the diameter of the aperture. If the f-number is decreased by a factor of , the aperture diameter is increased by the same factor, and its area is increased by a factor of 2. The f-stops that might be found on a typical lens include 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32, where going up "one stop" (using lower f-stop numbers) doubles the amount of light reaching the film, and stopping down one stop halves the amount of light. Exposures can be achieved through various combinations of shutter speed and aperture. For example, f/8 at 8 ms (=1/125th of a second) and f/5.6 at 4 ms (=1/250th of a second) yield the same amount of light. The chosen combination has an impact on the final result. In addition to the subject or camera movement that might vary depending on the shutter speed, the aperture (and focal length of the lens) determine the depth of field, which refers to the range of distances from the lens that will be in focus. For example, using a long lens and a large aperture (f/2.8, for example), a subject's eyes might be in sharp focus, but not the tip of the nose. With a smaller aperture (f/22), or a shorter lens, both the
subject's eyes and nose can be in focus. With very small apertures, such as pinholes, a wide range of distance can be brought into focus. Image capture is only part of the image forming process. Regardless of material, some process must be employed to render the latent image captured by the camera into the final photographic work. This process consists of two steps, development and printing. During the printing process, modifications can be made to the print by several controls. Many of these controls are similar to controls during image capture, while some are exclusive to the printing process. Most controls have equivalent digital concepts, but some create different effects. For example, dodging and burning controls are different between digital and film processes. Other printing modifications include:
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Chemicals and process used during film development Duration of exposure – equivalent to shutter speed Printing aperture – equivalent to aperture, but has no effect on depth of field Contrast Dodging – reduces exposure of certain print areas, resulting in lighter areas Burning in – increases exposure of certain areas, resulting in darker areas Paper texture – glossy, matte, etc Paper type – resin-coated (RC) or fiber-based (FB) Paper size Toners – used to add warm or cold tones to black and white prints
Uses of photography
Photography gained the interest of many scientists and artists from its inception. Scientists have used photography to record and study movements, such as Eadweard Muybridge's study of human and animal locomotion in 1887. Artists are equally interested by these aspects but also try to explore avenues other than the photomechanical representation of reality, such as the pictorialist movement. Military, police, and security forces use photography for surveillance, recognition and data storage. Photography is used by amateurs to preserve memories of favorite times, to capture special moments, to tell stories, to send messages, and as a source of entertainment. Many mobile phones now contain cameras to facilitate such use. Commercial advertising relies heavily on photography and has contributed greatly to its development.
History of photography
icéphore Niépce's earliest surviving photograph of a scene from nature, c. 1826. This image required an eight-hour exposure, which resulted in sunlight being visible on both sides of the buildings. Photography is the result of combining several technical discoveries. Long before the first photographs were made, Chinese philosopher Mo Ti described a pinhole camera in the 5th century B.C.E, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965–1040) studied the camera obscura and pinhole camera, Albertus Magnus (1193–1280) discovered silver nitrate, and Georges Fabricius (1516–1571) discovered silver chloride. Daniel Barbaro described a diaphragm in 1568. Wilhelm Homberg described how light darkened some chemicals (photochemical effect) in 1694. The fiction book Giphantie, by French author Tiphaigne de la Roche, described what can be interpreted as photography. Photography as a usable process goes back to the 1820s with the development of chemical photography. The first permanent photograph was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. However, the picture took eight hours to expose, so he went about trying to find a new process. Working in conjunction with Louis Daguerre, they experimented with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1724 that a silver and chalk mixture darkens when exposed to light. Niépce died in 1833, but Daguerre continued the work, eventually culminating with the development of the daguerreotype in 1837. Daguerre took the first ever photo of a person in 1839 when whilst taking a daguerrotype of a paris street a pedestrian happened to stop long enough to be captured by the the long exposure (several minutes). Eventually, France agreed to pay Daguerre a pension for his formula, in exchange for his promise to announce his discovery to the world as the gift of France, which he did in 1839. Meanwhile, Hercules Florence had already created a very similar process in 1832, naming it Photographie, and William Fox Talbot had earlier discovered another means to fix a silver process image but had kept it secret. After reading about Daguerre's invention, Talbot refined his process so that portraits were made readily available to the masses. By 1840, Talbot had invented the calotype process, which creates negative images. John Herschel made many contributions to the new methods. He invented the cyanotype process, now familiar as the "blueprint". He was the first to use the terms "photography", "negative" and "positive". He discovered sodium thiosulphate solution to be a solvent of silver halides in 1819, and informed Talbot and Daguerre of his discovery in 1839 that it
could be used to "fix" pictures and make them permanent. He made the first glass negative in late 1839. In March 1851, Frederick Scott Archer published his findings in "The Chemist" on the wet plate collodion process. This became the most widely used process between 1852 and the late 1880s when the dry plate was introduced. There are three subsets to the Collodion process; the Ambrotype (positive image on glass), the Ferrotype or Tintype (positive image on metal) and the negative which was printed on Albumen or Salt paper. Many advances in photographic glass plates and printing were made in through the nineteenth century. In 1884, George Eastman developed the technology of film to replace photographic plates, leading to the technology used by film cameras today. In 1908 Gabriel Lippmann won the Nobel Laureate in Physics for his method of reproducing colours photographically based on the phenomenon of interference, also known as the Lippmann plate.
All photography was originally monochrome, most of these photographs were black-andwhite. Even after color film was readily available, black-and-white photography continued to dominate for decades, due to its lower cost and its "classic" photographic look. It is important to note that some monochromatic pictures are not always pure blacks and whites, but also contain other hues depending on the process. The Cyanotype process produces an image of blue and white for example. The albumen process which was used more than 150 years ago had brown tones. Many photographers continue to produce some monochrome images. Some full color digital images are processed using a variety of techniques to create black and whites, and some cameras have even been produced to exclusively shoot monochrome.
Color photography was explored beginning in the mid 1800s. Early experiments in color could not fix the photograph and prevent the color from fading. The first permanent color photo was taken in 1861 by the physicist James Clerk Maxwell.
Early color photograph taken by Prokudin-Gorskii (1915). One of the early methods of taking color photos was to use three cameras. Each camera would have a color filter in front of the lens. This technique provides the photographer with the three basic channels required to recreate a color image in a darkroom or processing plant. Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii developed another technique, with three color plates taken in quick succession. Practical application of the technique was held back by the very limited color response of early film; however, in the early 1900s, following the work of photo-chemists such as H. W. Vogel, emulsions with adequate sensitivity to green and red light at last became available. The first color plate, Autochrome, invented by the French Lumière brothers, reached the market in 1907. It was based on a 'screen-plate' filter made of dyed dots of potato starch, and was the only color film on the market until German Agfa introduced the similar Agfacolor in 1932. In 1935, American Kodak introduced the first modern ('integrated tripack') color film, Kodachrome, based on three colored emulsions. This was followed in 1936 by Agfa's Agfacolor Neue. Unlike the Kodachrome tri-pack process, the color couplers in Agfacolor Neue were integral with the emulsion layers, which greatly simplified the film processing. Most modern color films, except Kodachrome, are based on the Agfacolor Neue technology. Instant color film was introduced by Polaroid in 1963. Color photography may form images as a positive transparency, intended for use in a slide projector or as color negatives, intended for use in creating positive color enlargements on specially coated paper. The latter is now the most common form of film (non-digital) color photography owing to the introduction of automated photoprinting equipment.
Full-spectrum, ultraviolet and infrared photography
Ultraviolet and infrared films have been available for many decades and employed in a variety of photographic avenues since the 1960s. New technological trends in digital photography have opened a new direction in full spectrum photography, where careful filtering choices across the ultraviolet, visible and infrared lead to new artistic visions.
Modified digital cameras can detect some ultraviolet, all of the visible and much of the near infrared spectrum, as most digital imaging sensors are sensitive from about 350nm to 1000nm. An off-the-shelf digital camera contains an infrared hot mirror filter that blocks most of the infrared and a bit of the ultraviolet that would otherwise be detected by the sensor, narrowing the accepted range from about 400nm to 700nm. Replacing a hot mirror or infrared blocking filter with an infrared pass or a wide spectrally transmitting filter allows the camera to detect the wider spectrum light at greater sensitivity. Without the hot-mirror, the red, green and blue (or cyan, yellow and magenta) colored micro-filters placed over the sensor elements pass varying amounts of ultraviolet (blue window) and infrared (primarily red, and somewhat lesser the green and blue micro-filters). Uses of full spectrum photography are for fine art photography, geology, forensics & law enforcement, and even some claimed use in ghost hunting.
A handheld digital camera.
The Nikon D1, the first DSLR to truly compete with, and begin to replace, film cameras in the professional photojournalism and sports photography fields.
Nikon DSLR and scanner, which converts film images to digital
Sony Ericsson K800i camera phone. Traditional photography burdened photographers working at remote locations without easy access to processing facilities, and competition from television pressured photographers to deliver images to newspapers with greater speed. Photo journalists at remote locations often carried miniature photo labs and a means of transmitting images through telephone lines. In 1981, Sony unveiled the first consumer camera to use a charge-coupled device for imaging, eliminating the need for film: the Sony Mavica. While the Mavica saved images to disk, the images were displayed on television, and the camera was not fully digital. In 1990, Kodak unveiled the DCS 100, the first commercially available digital camera. Although its high cost precluded uses other than photojournalism and professional photography, commercial digital photography was born. Digital imaging uses an electronic image sensor to record the image as a set of electronic data rather than as chemical changes on film. The primary difference between digital and chemical photography is that chemical photography resists manipulation because it involves film and photographic paper, while digital imaging is a highly manipulative medium. This difference allows for a degree of image post-processing that is comparatively difficult in film-based photography and permits different communicative potentials and applications. Digital point-and-shoot cameras have become widespread consumer products, outselling film cameras, and including new features such as video and audio recording. Kodak announced in January 2004 that it would no longer sell reloadable 35 mm cameras in western Europe, Canada and the United States after the end of that year. Kodak was at that time a minor player in the reloadable film cameras market. In January 2006, Nikon followed suit and announced that they will stop the production of all but two models of their film cameras: the low-end Nikon FM10, and the high-end Nikon F6. On May 25, 2006, Canon announced they will stop developing new film SLR cameras.
Camera phones, combined with sites like flickr have lead to a new kind of social photography. Though most new camera designs are now digital, a new 6*6cm/6*7cm medium format film camera was introduced in 2008 in a cooperation between Fuji and Voigtländer. According to a survey made by Kodak in 2007, 75 percent of professional photographers say they will continue to use film, even though some embrace digital. According to the U.S. survey results, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of professional photographers prefer the results of film to those of digital for certain applications including:
• • • • •
film’s superiority in capturing more information on medium and large format films (48 percent); creating a traditional photographic look (48 percent); capturing shadow and highlighting details (45 percent); the wide exposure latitude of film (42 percent); and archival storage (38 percent)
Because photography is popularly synonymous with truth ("The camera doesn't lie."), digital imaging has raised many ethical concerns. Many photojournalists have declared they will not crop their pictures, or are forbidden from combining elements of multiple photos to make "illustrations," passing them as real photographs. Many courts will not accept digital images as evidence because of their inherently manipulative nature and they could be completely fake, do they only take solid evidence. Today's technology has made picture editing relatively simple for even the novice photographer. Recent changes of in-camera processing allows digital fingerprinting of RAW photos to verify against tampering of digital photos for forensics use.
Photographic modes of production
An amateur photographer is one who practices photography as a hobby and not for profit. The quality of some amateur work is comparable to that of many professionals but may be highly specialised or eclectic in its choice of subjects. Amateur photography is often pre-eminent in photographic subjects which have little prospect of commercial use or reward.
Manual shutter control and exposure settings can achieve unusual results. Commercial photography is probably best defined as any photography for which the photographer is paid for images rather than works of art. In this light money could be paid for the subject of the photograph or the photograph itself. Wholesale, retail, and professional uses of photography would fall under this definition. The commercial photographic world could include:
• • • •
• • • •
Advertising photography: photographs made to illustrate and usually sell a service or product. These images are generally done with an advertising agency, design firm or with an in-house corporate design team. Fashion and glamour photography: This type of photography usually incorporates models. Fashion photography emphasizes the clothes or product, glamour emphasizes the model. Glamour photography is popular in advertising and in men's magazines. Models in glamour photography may be nude, but this is not always the case. Crime Scene Photography: This type of photography consists of photographing scenes of crime such as robberies and murders. A black and white camera or an infrared camera may be used to capture specific details. Still life photography usually depicts inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made. Food photography can be used for editorial, packaging or advertising use. Food photography is similar to still life photography, but requires some special skills. Editorial photography: photographs made to illustrate a story or idea within the context of a magazine. These are usually assigned by the magazine. Photojournalism: this can be considered a subset of editorial photography. Photographs made in this context are accepted as a documentation of a news story. Portrait and wedding photography: photographs made and sold directly to the end user of the images. Landscape photography: photographs of different locations. Wildlife photography that demonstrates life of the animals. Photo sharing: publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos online.
The market for photographic services demonstrates the aphorism "one picture is worth a thousand words," which has an interesting basis in the history of photography. Magazines and newspapers, companies putting up Web sites, advertising agencies and other groups pay for photography. Many people take photographs for self-fulfillment or for commercial purposes. Organizations with a budget and a need for photography have several options: they can employ a photographer directly, organize a public competition, or obtain rights to stock photographs. Photo stock can be procured through traditional stock giants, such as Getty Images or Corbis; smaller microstock agencies, such as Fotolia; or web marketplaces, such as Cutcaster.
Photography as an art form
Classic Alfred Stieglitz photograph, The Steerage shows unique aesthetic of black and white photos. During the twentieth century, both fine art photography and documentary photography became accepted by the English-speaking art world and the gallery system. In the United States, a handful of photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, John Szarkowski, F. Holland Day, and Edward Weston, spent their lives advocating for photography as a fine art. At first, fine art photographers tried to imitate painting styles. This movement is called Pictorialism, often using soft focus for a dreamy, 'romantic' look. In reaction to that, Weston, Ansel Adams, and others formed the f/64 Group to advocate 'straight photography', the photograph as a (sharply focused) thing in itself and not an imitation of something else. The aesthetics of photography is a matter that continues to be discussed regularly, especially in artistic circles. Many artists argued that photography was the mechanical reproduction of an image. If photography is authentically art, then photography in the context of art would need redefinition, such as determining what component of a photograph makes it beautiful to the viewer. The controversy began with the earliest images "written with light"; Nicéphore Niépce, Louis Daguerre, and others among the
very earliest photographers were met with acclaim, but some questioned if their work met the definitions and purposes of art. Clive Bell in his classic essay Art states that only "significant form" can distinguish art from what is not art.
There must be some one quality without which a work of art cannot exist; possessing which, in the least degree, no work is altogether worthless. What is this quality? What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions? What quality is common to Sta. Sophia and the windows at Chartres, Mexican sculpture, a Persian bowl, Chinese carpets, Giotto's frescoes at Padua, and the masterpieces of Poussin, Piero della Francesca, and Cezanne? Only one answer seems possible - significant form. In each, lines and colors combined in a particular way, certain forms and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions.
On February 14th 2006 Sotheby’s London sold the 2001 photograph "99 Cent II Diptychon" for an unprecedented $3,346,456 to an anonymous bidder making it the most expensive of all time.
Conceptual photography: Photography that turns a concept or idea into a photograph. Even though what is depicted in the photographs are real objects, the subject is strictly abstract.
Scientific and Forensic photography
Original Tay Bridge from the north showing structure based on towers built from cast iron columns. When enlarged this plate shows a key design flaw in the bridge: the smaller surviving towers were supported by a continuous girder at their tops, while the fallen towers lack this essential reinforcing element.
Fallen Tay Bridge from the north. The two surviving high towers show a gap in their tops. The camera has a long and distinguished history as a means of recording phenomena from the first use by Daguerre and Fox-Talbot, such as astronomical events (eclipses for example) and small creatures when the camera was attached to the eyepiece of microscopes (in photomicroscopy). The camera also proved useful in recording crime scenes and the scenes of accidents, one of the first applications being at the scene of the Tay Rail Bridge disaster of 1879. The court, just a few days after the accident, ordered James Valentine of Dundee to record the scene using both long distance shots and closeups of the debris. The set of accident photographs was used in the subsequent court of inquiry so that witnesses could identify pieces of the wreckage, and the technique is now commonplace both at accident scenes and subsequent cases in courts of law. The set of over 50 Tay bridge photographs are of very high quality, being made on large plate cameras with a small aperture and using fine grain emulsion film on a glass plate. When scanned at high resolution, they can be enlarged to show details of the failed components such as broken cast iron lugs and the tie bars which failed to hold the towers in place. They show that the bridge was badly designed, badly built and badly maintained. The methods used in analysing old photographs are known as forensic photography. Between 1846 and 1852 Charles Brooke invented a technology for the automatic registration of instruments by photography. These instruments included barometers, thermometers, psychrometers, and magnetometers, which recorded their readings by means of an automated photographic process.
Other photographic image forming techniques
Besides the camera, other methods of forming images with light are available. For instance, a photocopy or xerography machine forms permanent images but uses the transfer of static electrical charges rather than photographic film, hence the term electrophotography. Photograms are images produced by the shadows of objects cast on the photographic paper, without the use of a camera. Objects can also be placed directly on the glass of an image scanner to produce digital pictures.
Social and cultural implications
There are many ongoing questions about different aspects of photography. In her writing “On Photography” (1977) Susan Sontag discusses concerns about the objectivity of photography. This is a highly debated subject within the photographic community (Bissell, 2000). It has been concluded that photography is a subjective discipline “to photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting one’s self into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge, and therefore like power” (Sontag, 1977: p 4). Photographers decide what to take a photo of, what elements to exclude and what angle to frame the photo. Along with the context that a photograph is received in, photography is definitely a subjective form. Modern photography has raised a number of concerns on its impact on society. The concept of the camera being a 'phallic' tool has been exemplified in a number of Hollywood productions. In Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), the camera is presented as a promoter of voyeuristic inhibitions. 'Although the camera is an observation station, the act of photographing is more than passive observing' [Sontag Susan 1977: p 12]. Michal Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) portrays the camera as both sexual and sadistically violent technology that literally kills in this picture and at the same time captures images of the pain and anguish evident on the faces of the female victims. "The camera doesn't rape or even possess, though it may presume, intrude, trespass, distort, exploit, and, at the farthest reach of metaphor, assasinate- all activities that, unike the sexual push and shove, can be conducted from a distance, and with some detachment" [Sontag Susan 1977: p 12] Photography is one of the new media forms that changes perception and changes the structure of society (Levinson, 1997). Further unease has been caused around cameras in regards to desensitization. Fears that disturbing or explicit images are widely accessible to children and society at large have been raised. Particularly, photos of war and pornography are causing a stir. (Sontag). Sontag is concerned that “to photograph is to turn people into objects that can be symbolically possessed”. Desensitization discussion goes hand in hand with debates about censored images. Sontag writes of her concern that the ability to censor pictures means the photographer has the ability to construct reality.
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