Dickinson 1Rebecca DickinsonMrs. CorbettSenior Project Research Paper18 November 2011 Photography; a Universal Art Form Photography is a luxury which is taken for granted by the world today. However, theability to create lasting memories by capturing a moment is relatively new. As Eddie Adamsonce said, “If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, thats a goodpicture” (“Strengths - Photojournalism”). Photography started out as a way of documentingsimple, inanimate objects. Today, photography is used in daily life as a way to connect with theworld. Since its invention, photography has grown from a single camera into a variety of formsand professions, and at the same time it has changed the world. Photography is an art form thatevolved rapidly. Since the time it was invented in 1839 it has become a part of business, theinternational news, and an institution in the lives of most individuals. Using Aristotle’s camera obscura model, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre and WilliamHenry Fox Talbot each created their own version of the first camera in 1839 (Collins).Daguerre’s version, the daguerreotype, was originally more popular because it created uniqueetchings on metal. Talbot’s talbotype created a monochromic image on paper, which is similar tothe more recent process of converting a photograph’s negative to a print. Building off of thetalbotype, Frederick Scott Archer came up with the collodion plate (Rosenblum 32). Thecollodion plate helped the process of developing the negative images created with Talbot’sinvention. With the invention of this plate, photographers were then able to travel with a portabledarkroom. They were able to use their cameras to document significant occurrences happening in
Dickinson 2the world. The Civil War became one of the first events where citizens could see the overalleffects of war firsthand. Later the collodion plate was improved into the gelatin dry plate (Garrett26). The collodion plate was more sensitive to light which meant pictures would develop morequickly; the darkroom was no longer needed. Next, the shutter was added to the camera whichmade capturing objects in motion possible. By 1885, George Eastman had created photographicfilm. Three years later he had trademarked Kodak and put a camera with film already insertedinto it on the market. The process of returning the camera to the company to develop the film isstill used today. Thirty years later, a German company developed the Leica 1 (Garrett 28). TheLeica 1 was a smaller, lighter camera which was more convenient for individuals to carry thanthe original cameras were. The Leica 1 and Kodak’s 1930s camera are considered thegrandparents of today’s 35mm cameras. Cameras today have progressed greatly from their original form. Professionalphotographers prefer the D-SLR versions. This camera uses the same lens for both viewing theimage and capturing the picture. The process uses a mirror to reflect the picture into theviewfinder. As the picture is taken, this mirror moves and the shutter opens. The image sensor isthen put into the light (Martin et al. 10). Professionals prefer these cameras because theequipment manages to take the picture more quickly and accurately, creating a clearer and moreengaging photograph. Viewers are able to connect more with the image and examine the finerdetails. The other main type of camera today is the point-and-shoot (Martin 8). Amateurphotographers use these because they are small, easy to carry, and easy to operate. From the timeof the talbotype and the daguerreotype, cameras have transformed into many different versions.Today there is a camera for everyone.
Dickinson 3 Photography has helped revolutionize modern society. In some opinions, “photographyhas become the most democratic form of art the world has ever known” (Garrett 14).Photography is something that everyone can understand; something that is universal. A persondoes not need to speak a certain language in order to understand a picture. For this reason,photography has helped bring the world closer together. Another way that photography hasprogressed is how it has become one of the “most powerful means of self-expression” (Garrett14). People can easily take photographs of anything that interests them. They can capture theirunique memories and not limit their creativity in any way. Equipment that can easily be carriedaround has given modern society the ability to document experiences more easily than in thepast. Another way photography has changed the world is how “photographers spread out toevery corner of the world, recording all the natural and manufactured phenomena they [can]find” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). Photographers are able to show what is happeningaround the world, sharing details with everyone. The world has become more interconnectednow that photographs help people remain in contact from continent to continent. All in all,photography has changed the world by bringing people closer together and assisting inindividuality and creativity. As photography grows, the jobs involving photography also grow. The use ofphotography is necessary in many fields. Businesses need to use photography for many differentreasons, “from presentation of products and services, to promotion and record-keeping” (Ang365). Photographs give a business the ability to give potential customers an accurate portrayal ofits work and the ability to see what a completed project may look like. Photography helps manybusinesses become successful by selling their final product before completion. Architecture alsohas many uses for photography, and it has “an enormous advantage over almost any other field
Dickinson 4of photography: [the] subject will stay in one place” (Ang 213). Many successful architecturalfirms assemble books with photographs of their buildings and constructions, which are thendistributed to other firms for reference material, and to customers for review. Jobs utilizingphotography can be found in almost every media field. Photographs help connect places that arefar apart and help spread news faster. Photojournalist’s jobs are simple to understand; to become involved in “the world’s greatinjustices and [put] a face on them that the public and the government cannot ignore” (Moloney).Exposing what is wrong and pointing out what is right alerts average citizens to what ishappening in the world, and helps them form opinions. A photojournalist is able to both showand tell people what is going on. To be fair, a photojournalist must “[tell] their stories withsincerity” (Moloney). Because a picture is said to paint one thousand words, it is vital to reportthe correct facts. If a picture is taken out of context, the wrong message could be sent to thepublic. Photojournalists must have qualities such as “adventure and intrigue,” and also “passion”(Moloney). Curiosity helps drive them as they move from place to place attempting to documenthistory. Qualities such as these are useful since the best photographs are taken by those whoenjoy what they are doing. Most photojournalists are “socially concerned” (Lacayo and Russell55). Cameras are the devices used to seize the conditions of a nation and spread the word onwhat is occurring during the current period. The job of a photojournalist is to capture presentnews and keep the citizens interconnected with their government and other large events. The jobof a photojournalist serves as an important link between the public and the government. A person’s reason for utilizing photography can be personal. Although some use it fortheir job, others use it as their hobby, or even their escape. As Alfred Stieglitz says, “Inphotography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality” (“Introduction to
Dickinson 5Photography”). Stieglitz means that photography has the power to capture who a person is.Families and individuals can now immortalize important events in their lives. When someonetakes a picture, whatever they are photographing is relevant to them, and this allows them to puttheir perspective into the photograph. Photography also has the power to “seek order andconstruct the world” (Clarke 11). Photography shows that everyone looks at the world in adifferent way, and photography helps piece everyone together. Having this unique outlook helpspeople discover what they want to do with their life, as well as having the power to evokeemotion. The reasons for entering the world of photography are numerous. Since its creation, photography has proved to be a groundbreaking development and trulyis the most democratic art form. It is said that “the camera indulges in its capacity to producemore than what is seen” (Clarke 181). The first time someone sees something, details can bemissed or overlooked. A photograph allows a moment to be viewed again and again because aminute is frozen in time. The viewer is able to carefully observe that particular minute. Onebattle fought between artists and critics would be “the fight to certify photography as a fine art”(Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). In the beginning, photography did not seem to be all thatglamorous because of its limitations. Today it has changed into its own art form, thanks to theimprovements made onto the original ideas. It takes an artist’s eye to take a good photograph.Although some take photography seriously, others use it as a form of amusement and recreation.Like any hobby, photography brings joy to the people who chose to pursue this engagingactivity. Someone can relive a great memory or moment over and over, and as long as thephotograph survives, the memory will as well. Because photography has managed to becomesuch a developed career, a seemingly permanent part of businesses, and a way for individuals to
Dickinson 6express creativity, it appears that the camera and its documenting ability will be around for along time to come.
Dickinson 7 Works CitedAng, Tom. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from Your Digital Camera. Ed. Nicky Munro. New York: DK Publishing, 2007. Print.Clarke, Graham. The Photograph. Ed. Oxford. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.Collins, Ross. “Modern photojournalism: 1920-1990.” A Brief History of Photography and Photojournalism. North Dakota State, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.ndsu.edu// ~rcollins/photojournalism/.html>.Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. “Photography, still.” Galileo. EBSCOhost, 1 Sept. 2011. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com//detail?sid=9761a61b-5515-4499-bf7f- b9e42040f9b2%40sessionmgr4&vid=9&hid=123&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ %3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=39003964>.Garrett, John. K.I.S.S. Photography. Ed. Jennifer Williams. New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2001. Print.“Introduction to Photography.” Georgetown University. N.p., 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <www9.georgetown.edu///.../intro-web.pp...>.Lacayo, Richard, and George Russell. 150 Years of Photojournalism. Ed. Jane Kagan Vitiello. 2nd ed. New York: TIME Books, 1995. Print.Martin, Bob, et al. The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography. Ed. Barbara Brownell Grogan, et al. 2006. China: National Geographic, 2008. Print.Moloney, Kevin. “So You Want to be a Photojournalist...” 2010. University of Colorado. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.colorado.edu///_You_Want.pdf>.Rosenblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography. Illus. Laura Gilpin. Ed. Walton Rawls. New York: Cross River Press, 1984. Print.
Dickinson 8“Strengths - Photojournalism.” The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The University of Texas at Austin, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.cah.utexas.edu/ collections//.php>.