“I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn.”<br />Pablo Picasso<br />
History of Photography<br />Etymology: From the Greek “photos” meaning light and “graphos” meanings writing. To photograph means to write with light.<br />The development of photography as we know it today was the result of several technological innovations, ranging from ancient Greece all the way to the 19th century.<br />
Daguerreotypes<br />The first permanent photographs were the result of complicated chemical processes.<br />Louis Daguerre’s daguerreotypes were the first commercially successful pictures taken.<br />This was a popular method for middle class families unable to afford oil paintings to have a portrait done.<br />This Daguerreotype is believed to be the first picture of a person ever taken.<br />
The Brownie<br />After a few relatively modest commercial applications, George Eastman’s Kodak Brownie finally introduced the masses to photography. <br />It was the first camera to allow nonprofessionals to physically take the pictures.<br />The Brownie II<br />
Professional Cameras<br />As consumer based cameras grew in popularity, the professional cameras that would come to be used by the artistic community developed.<br />In 1913, Leica introduced its first 35mm camera.<br />SLRs, today’s preferred camera, were not perfected until the middle of the 20th century.<br />Leica’s first 35mm camera.<br />
Color<br />Up until now, everything we’ve talked about has been black and white photography.<br />Color photography was much more difficult. The first practical color technology, Autochrome, was developed in 1907, but the process did not gain widespread use until Kodak’s Kodachrome in 1935.<br />An Autochrome picture from 1917.<br />
The History of Photography: Themes<br />Processes started as very limited in their use and then became more and more widespread.<br />Professional photographers both reacted against and embraced amateur photography at times.<br />The first widely successful 35mm SLR <br />represented a huge step forward in <br />professional equipment.<br />
Art Photography<br />The idea of using photography as an art form of itself began with daguerreotypes in the mid 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1927 that an artist actually had a solo exhibition of his photography.<br />We now turn to that photographer.<br />One of Julia Margaret Cannon’s Victorian<br />Era fine art photos.<br />
Andre Kertész<br />Kertész was born in Hungary around the turn of the century.<br />He developed a love for the growing practice of photography at a very young age, and despite his family’s plans for him, pursued the art as an autodidact.<br />He bought his first camera, an entry level ICA Aviso, at 18, and abandoned his potential career as a stock broker.<br />
Kertész’s Entry<br />He was almost immediately successful as a photographer.<br />During the First World War, he took pictures in the trenches.<br />After returning home to Hungary, he began to pursue photography professionally.<br />The Circus, Budapest.<br />
Underwater Swimmer, Esztergom<br />One of Kertész’s most famous early works.<br />
French Period<br />In 1925, he left everything for Paris, hoping to integrate himself into the city’s famous art scene.<br />He photographed daily, and in 1927 was the first photography to have his own individual art exhibition.<br />He was fascinated by Cubism and associated with the Dada movement.<br />Meudon, France. 1928<br />
French Period<br />His work while in Paris was reminiscent of the Impressionists before him: He wandered the streets, looking for photographs waiting to be taken.<br />His photos showed a tendency toward unusual vantage points, dramatic use of shadows in still life, and experiments with light.<br />Still Life, Paris. 1926<br />
The Fork. 1928.<br />One of Kertész’s most famous works, The Fork represents his use of still life.<br />
Distortion #49. 1933.<br />Part of Kertész’s famous Distortion Series, this picture is representative of his use of photography to play with light.<br />
Study of People and Shadows, Paris. 1928<br />This picture is a take on one of Kertész’s favorite themes: an everyday subject from an unusual angle.<br />
Emigration<br />Kertész did not feel he was being appreciated in Europe. His pictures were apolitical, and as the Nazi Party rose, this led to a cooler reaction to Kertész’s experimental but fundamentally message-less pictures.<br />Seeking a new scene, Kertész moved to New York in 1936, intent on finding fame.<br />This proved to be difficult. Kertész struggled to learn his third language, and his insecurities very much impeded his joy of photography.<br />He worked with and sometimes against prominent magazines like Life and Vogue.<br />
International Period<br />Following the Second World War, Kertész began to reach critical success in the US.<br />He signed a contract with House & Garden magazine, which, while not his dream job, was satisfactory.<br />He continued to take many pictures for his own use.<br />In 1962 he quit the magazine to pursue fine art photography full time.<br />Watchmaker’s Shop, Christopher<br />Street, New York. 1950.<br />
Later Years<br />During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Kertész achieved much of the success he wanted to, although it never truly satisfied him.<br />In 1979, he was given a Polaroid SX-70 by the Polaroid Corporation, and a new experimental phase of his career began.<br />
Artistic Vision<br />“I write with light,” Kertész said.<br />He sought not to comment on his subjects but to simply capture life as it is.<br />He experimented with the way he used light, vantage points, and distortions to utilize photography in a way that made it distinct.<br />
Background<br />San Francisco, California<br />Interesting fact: Adams was in an earthquake and damaged his nose, marking him for life. <br />Only child of two elderly parents <br />His environment was Victorian, as well as emotionally and socially conservative<br />Had problems fitting in school—didn’t finish much<br />Shyness, genius, and “earthquaked” nose<br />
Found joy in nature ever since he was a child.<br />Taught himself to play piano and read music.<br />Intended to be a pianist, but gave it up for photography. <br />Yosemite National Park <br />“colored and modulated by the great earth gesture”<br />Joined the Sierra Club<br />Began using Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie<br />1st photos<br />
Yosemite National Park<br />Focused on the spiritual-emotional aspects of the park<br />Quite the environmentalist<br />Appeared before Congress in 1936 and persuaded them to elevate Kings River Canyon to national park status. <br />Inspiration<br />Visited every year for 68 years<br />Member of the Sierra Club<br />
f/64 Group<br />1932-1935<br />Smallest aperture on a camera<br />Formed in reaction to pictoralism<br />Their mission: to create photographs of artistic expression using clean and pure photographic techniques without manipulation. <br />Founded Photography Dept. in MoMA.<br />Photographic realism<br />
Ansel Adams, Frozen Lake & Cliffs, Kaweah Gap, Sierra Nevada, California, 1932<br />Brett Weston, Bird Dune, Oceano, 1934<br />
Contributions to Art<br />Impressionist technique: recording of the image at different times of day/ year (Monet)<br />Abstraction: photos of natural intersection planes, sharp angles, and reflection of natural light and receding shadow. <br />Romantic: liked the beauty and power of nature; not all about the realistic aspect of it<br />Zone system: Using different filters to get different picture from one negative.<br />Dodging and burning: manipulating exposure time to increase the contrast of either the foreground or background. <br />“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”<br /> –Ansel Adams<br />
Impressionists<br />Autumn Tree Against Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite 1944<br />Oak Tree, Snowstorm, Yosemite 1948<br />
Romanticism<br />Nevada Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 1946<br />Moonrise, Hernadez, New Mexico 1941<br />
Techniques Used<br />Pictoralism: altered images by scratching negative, and brushing on developer. <br />Pre-visualization: carefully calculated the effect of a photograph before taking it. <br />Photographic realism: very calculated, precise, un-manipulated. <br />Toward the end of his career he went back to more contemporary work<br />
Merced River, Cliffs of Cathedral Rocks, Autumn, 1939<br />
Eliot Porter & Color Photography<br /><ul><li>Began making black-and-white photographs in the 1930s.
Promoted the use of color photography from the 1940s until the mid-1970s.
Initially took up color photography to get more accurate photographs of birds.</li></li></ul><li>Eliot Porter & Color Photography(continued)<br /><ul><li>Began using Kodachrome, a new color transparency film, and taught himself the multi-step process for making color prints.
Fought against the notion that color photography was too literal and unsuitable for artists.</li></li></ul><li>American Eider Duck, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, 1937 [Somateria mollissima]<br />Beech Branch and Landscape, Tinmouth, Vermont, February 15, 1958<br />
Eliot Porter & the Conservation Movement<br /><ul><li>His works were widely published and used as a powerful visual argument for nature conservation.
Elevated the medium of landscape photography to a fine art.
“Wilderness must be preserved; it is a spiritual necessity.”</li></li></ul><li>Eliot Porter & the Conservation Movement(continued)<br /><ul><li>Made photographic books with the Sierra Club in the 1960s.
Example: His photographs canyons attempted to prevent the Glen Canyon Dam from being built. They resulted in the Wilderness Act and federal review of reclamation projects.</li></li></ul><li>Sunrise, Moon Reflection in Pool, Navajo Creek, Glen Canyon, Utah, August 27, 1961<br />Sunset on Colorado at Kane Creek, Glen Canyon, Utah, October 1960<br />
Eliot Porter & Birds<br /><ul><li>Began photographing birds when given 1st camera in 1911.
Wanted to “raise bird photography…to transform it into an art.”
Developed the 1st stop-action system for photographing birds.</li></li></ul><li>Barn Swallow, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, August 21, 1954<br />Eastern Flicker, Flying, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, July 22, 1968<br />
The Impact of Photography<br />In a lot of ways, photography turned the artistic world on its head.<br />The traditional goal of art, making an accurate representation of a scene, could be done more easily and more perfectly. This had profound impacts on how artists approached their work.<br />Photography itself has cemented itself as a fine art, thanks in part to the work of people like Kertész, Adams, and Porter. <br />