Photography

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History Of Photography

Joseph Nicephore Niepce, in 1826, used a camera obscura to produce the first stable photographic image (a negative) upon silver nitrate-coated paper--but this image took several days of exposure time, and the resulting picture was unclear. Later, Louis Daguerre developed a technique of developing images on metal that reduced exposure time and created sharper, more stable pictures. His “daguerreotype” process was commercially released in 1893 and helped popularize photographic technology around the world among the middle classes, especially in the area of portraiture. Paper-based methods (using translucent negatives) first developed by Henry Fox Talbot  would eventually replace the metal-based daguerreotype. The first commercially-available color photography process, Autochrome, was released in 1907 and was based on innovations by Louis Ducos Hauron and Charles Cros. However, these processes proved too expensive for the general public, and it wasn’t until Kodachrome film (a more affordable and quicker process) was made available in 1936 that color photography came into widespread public use. The next major revolution in photography would come in 1990 when the first commercially-available digital camera, the Dycam Model 1, was released.

Photography Techniques

In addition to choosing the appropriate camera, lens, and film, and then framing and timing a shot, photographers can choose to use filters, lights, special darkroom processes, and digital enhancement (among other tools and techniques) to gain a high level of control over their images. The equipment and techniques chosen largely depend on the genre, the photographer’s individual style, and the overall mood/effect they are attempting to achieve. Portrait and animal photographers wishing to make an individual subject (or a group) the focal point for a shot may use a large aperture for a shallow depth of field to put their subject(s) in focus while keeping the background blurred. Landscape photographers wanting to clearly capture an entire panoramic view may choose the opposite. Choosing black and white over color gives a timeless quality to photos and brings elements  such as line, texture, and tone to the forefront. The choice of black and white (or another monotone process) may also help lead the eye away from elements which distract from the photographer’s intended focus. Though some photography purists insist on forgoing digital enhancement of any kind, many choose to use it to retouch imperfections and enhance color, among other effects.

Artists Known For Photography

Prominent 19th century photographers include Oscar Rejlander (known for his photomontage images), Julia Cameron (celebrity portraits), Eadward Muybridge (California landscapes), and Albert Bierstadt (American West landscapes). These early pioneers of artistic photography helped gain acceptance of photography as an art form rather than as a mere method of documentation. Well known photographers of the  early 20th century include Alfred Stieglitz (photographer and founder of one of the world’s most prominent photography art galleries, Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession), Edward Weston (landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits), and Man Ray, an avant garde photographer who was a proponent of both Dadaism and Surrealism. Well-known photojournalists include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martin Parr, and Alfred Eisenstaedt. Ansel Adams and William Henry Jackson are giants in the field of landscape photography, while famous names in portrait photography include Dorothea Lange, Edward Curtis, Seydou Keita, Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus, and Annie Leibovitz. Renowned fashion photographers include Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, and Patrick Demarchelier.