Hi there! Welcome back! The next few weeks I thought I would share with you some of my senior thesis. It is actually a published book that is located at our school library. This week is about some of the early development of photography, so lets begin!
If you Google “First Portrait in Photography” you are most likely going to come across the photo in figure 9. This is a self-portrait that was taken in 1839 by a man named Robert Cornelius. According to The Public Domain Review, He was an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia. He set up his camera in the back of the family store. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. On the back of this image, he wrote “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839”. Could you imagine, every time you took a selfie, you would have to take the cover off the lens and quickly run in front of the camera. It is really amazing to think about how different it is today to take a simple photograph of yourself. Today you take more time taking multiple selfies then Cornelius taking just one image. Could you imagine if Cornelius was picky about his selfie?
Despite Google’s search results, we recently we have found that the first photograph of a human was taken by Louis Daguerre. Figure 10 is a photograph taken in Paris in 1838, shoes a man who is most likely getting his shoes shined. The article from the Huffington Post titled “Picture Of Guy Getting His Shoes Shined Is Thought To Be The First Photograph Of A Human” discusses that this man is the only clearly visible person in the photograph because everyone else was moving too quickly to be captured. “The shoeshine boy is mostly blurred out, and it is possible that the “blur behind the man is due to his coattails moving, possibly in a breeze.” (The Public Domain Review)
Father of the Daguerreotype
Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre was the father of the daguerreotype, which he invented in 1830. Daguerreotypes were popularly and primarily used for portraits. Unlike the photographs today, the daguerreotype was a polished copper plate where an image would be directly exposed. There was no negative used in the process and so each daguerreotype was a unique, one of a kind object.
According to inventors.com in an article called “History of Photography and the Camera (Timeline).”, which contains the first images from Louis Daguerre’s daguerreotype did not fade and needed less than thirty minutes of light exposure. And it wasn’t until 1851 that a man named Frederick Scott Archer invented the Collodion process which required only two or three seconds of light exposure. “Using a viscous solution of Collodion, he coated glass with light-sensitive silver salts. Because it was glass and not paper, this wet plate created a more stable and detailed negative.” Figure 11 is an image of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt who stood for a Collodion photograph; the photographer is unknown.
On khanacademy.org in the “Early Photography” article, they discuss dry glass plat which was invented in1867. It reduced the inconvenience of the wet Collodion process. Richard Maddox suggested suspending silver bromide in a gelatin emulsion, and idea that led to the introduction of factory produced dry plates coated with gelatin containing silver salts. This movement marked the beginning of the modern era of photography. (Early Photography)
In 1888, George Eastman developed the dry gelatin roll film, making it easier for film to be carried. Eastman also produced the first small inexpensive cameras allowing for more people to access the technology. Since the 1960s, polyester polymers have been used for gelatin base films. The plastic film base was more stable than the cellulose and wasn’t a fire hazard. Today, technology has produced film with T-grain emulsions, light sensitive silver halides (grains) that are T-shaped. Film like this offer greater detail and higher resolution, meaning sharper images. Photographers in the 19th century were pioneers, blurring the lines between art and technology. “Frequently using traditional methods of composition and marrying these with innovative techniques, photographers created a new vision of the material world.” (History of Photography and the Camera)
National Geographic had a slideshow that included James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell dabbled
in color theory throughout his life, producing the first color photograph in 1861. Maxwell created the image of the tartan ribbon shown here by photographing it three times through red, blue, and yellow filters, then recombining the images into one color composite. In the early 1940s, commercially viable color films were brought to the market. The film used modern technology of dye-coupled colors in which a process connects the three dye layers together to create an apparent color image. (National Geographic)
How has Photography Influenced Art?
The online collection from the Guggenheim included many photorealistic pieces and information on how photography affected art. “Beginning in 1968-1969, Photorealism involved the production of images that deployed near-microscopic detail to achieve the highest degree of representational verisimilitude possible.” Sometimes referred to as “Hyper-Realism,” “Super-Realism,” or “New Realism,” Photorealism was given its name by author and gallerist Louis K. Meisel in 1969. Artists such as Robert Bechtle, Audrey Flack, Charles Bell, used photography as the primary visual reference. They painted with the goal of photographic actuation. Figure 15 is a painting done by Charles Bell, titled Gum Ball No. 10: “Sugar Daddy”,1975 (Photorealism)
When the Daguerreotype come onto the scene in 1939, the art world quickly took notice both positively and negatively. Painting and Photography: 1839-1914 written by Dominique de Font-Reaulx talks about how photography came to influence the world of painting and vice versa. de Font-Reaulx argues that Courbet’s 1869 painting The Wave owes a debt to the seascape photo by Le Gray’s ability to capture the fleeting moment for the painter to capture once more. de Font-Reaulx shows the effect on photography particularly in portraiture, where photographers borrowed painters “tricks” to elude the limitations of the still-young technology.
After a while, Cameras were and still are used for more than just taking photographs of people. On August 23rd, 1966; Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photograph of the moon. Photography has since been used for Science, Architecture, Recording History, and other mediums of Art. According to sn online article titles 50 types of Photography Styles” There are many different types of photography such as Portrait and Wedding, Nature and Wildlife Photography, Black and White, HDR Photography, Travel Photography, Time Lapse, Macro Photography.
I hope you learned something this week! Tune in next week to check out some old photography equipment. If you have any questions or comments, please email, comment below, or private message me on Facebook!