History of Photography A retrospect of the golden age of fine art photography
Alice Boughton "Dawn"
The history of photography in the 19th century had a series of events and major movements to gain acceptance as an art form . First, we have to start where it all began, early photography was largely seen as an instrument of recording important historical events, major discoveries and new frontiers . Early national geographic magazines pioneered the use of photography as a new way communication on the changing world. Many photographic process like daguerreotype, tintype, ambrotype and others were beautiful portraits of early life. Working with these processes were very slow and dangerous. The mixing of chemicals including heated mercury proved too toxic for photographers . It was not until George Eastman and his company Kodak introduced film camera to the public which revolutionized the idea and the history of photography. Now an aspiring photographer has all the materials needed to make a photograph.
Native American photographyEdward Curtis
The Horse in Motion Eadweard Muybridge
With advances in early photography so did creative and critical thinking, Many genres of photography such as pictorialism, spiritual, romanticism made a strong impression with their emphasis on the beauty of subject matter, soft focus, tonality and composition. However, with much controversies fine art photography was still not considered as an art form . A major group called photo secessionist led by Alfred Stieglitz (father of modern photography)and fellow photographers helped to raise the standards and awareness of fine art photography. Stieglitz published his magazine “Camera Work” and it became a forum of intense debates and criticisms on photography and the fine art. Hence, the f64 group ( Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke) also known as “ straight photography” use maximum depth-of-field and details to feel the pure “realism” of the medium. Abstract, photo-montage, shapes, designs, movements, and even lifestyles were all tell tale signs of modern photography.
Camera Work -Photography quarterly magazine Published by Alfred Stieglitz
"Power house mechanic working on steam pump" 1920Lewis Hine
The history of photography continues
by the 1930's the great depression was setting in, the Untied States Government (F.S.A- farm security administration) hired documentary photographers to record the harsh reality of American life. There many women photographers most noticeably Dorothea Lange were use in this project thus giving a powerful and different perspective of the depression.
Dorothea Lange-"Migrant Mother"
Ansel Adams- "The Tetons and the Snake River"
Era of photojournalism dominated the mid 20th century Life Magazines and Magnum photos was wildly popular worldwide because people at the time interested in visual storytelling.. The Magnum photo agency was founded in 1947 and it's photographer-members would chose their own assignments from around the world to bring attention on the great diversity of the human conditions. The family of man exhibition mounted by The Museum of Modern Art also used many of Magnum's images and as Philadelphia Inquirer describes it as tells “the whole story of mankind”
Alfred Stieglitz-"The Hand of Man"
Today’s Postmodern art photography is multidimensional and takes closer examination of life after modernism in the context of art installations, mixed media and interMedia.. With the integration of fine art mediums it has redefine our role as photographers and artists on process making art. Photography should never be limited to looking at a photograph but rather seen a endless possibilities.
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