History of Photography
Nicephore Niepce: Nicephore Niepce was a french inventor who took and produced the world's first permanent photograph in 1825. Having not been a good drawer, Niepce used lithography, a camera obsurca and bitumen to capture the image. The process took over 8 hours to complete! This was the first time that a photograph was taken and didn't fade away.Without Niepce's contribution to photography, it would have taken longer to figure out how to keep a permanent image, which would mean photography would not be as high-tech as it is today. This is his first picture, called "View From The Window at Le Gras":
Louis Daguerre: Daguerre was a french artist and physicist who worked with Niepce to develop the technology for photography. After Niepce died, Daguerre created a process called the Daguerreotype - where he exposed a thin silver-plated copper sheet to iodine crystal vapors which created a coat of light-sensitve silver iodine which was then exposed to the camera. He refined the process by adding vapor given off mercury to speed up the process. The plate produced the exact image but laterally reversed. To be seen, the image had to be lit at a specific angle. Because of the chemical compounds, the surface was subject to tarnish so the image would need to be sealed under glass or mounted in a case. Also, because of how the process worked, there could never be any duplicates of images. This was important to the history of photography not only because it made the process faster than it was with Niepce, but because of how the pictures were taken, people could get portraits and could capture memories much easier than they could have with a painting or drawing. This is a picture called "Boulevard Du Temple" which is the first photograph of a person who is only in it because they did not move for the 10 minutes of exposure. This is also why there isn't any traffic in the picture:
Henry Fox-Talbot: Fox-Tablot was a British inventor who created the calotype process and worked on photo-mechanical reproduction. The calotype process uses paper coated with silver iodine to take a picture over a minute or two and then use a chemical process to develop the image. This process also created negatives so that duplicates of the image could be made. This invention made the photography process even faster and allowed for one picture to be taken and several copies to be made. Without the invention of the negatives, there might still be one picture for ever photograph taken! This picture was taken at Lacock Abbey in 1835 by Talbot. The negative that this print came from is the oldest in existence!
Hippolyte Bayard: Bayard was a French photographer who invented direct positive printing and also put on the first public photography exhibition in June 1839. Direct positive printing is a process where silver chloride paper is exposed to light which then turns the paper black. The paper is then soaked in potassium iodine then is exposed in a camera. After exposure, it is washed in a hyposulfite of soda bath and dried. The exposure for this process was about 12 minutes and the paper had poor light sensitivity, however the result was unique and could not be replicated. This method was used for still subject matter (such as buildings) but it was sometimes used for portraits. Bayard also came up with the idea of combining two negatives so that the sky and other landscapes were properly exposed in a picture. One of his most famous pictures is called "Self Portrait as a Drowned Man" in which he created the first staged picture in reaction to unjustness he felt that he had been treated with.
Julia Margaret Cameron: Cameron was a British Photographer who is most famous for the portraits that she took. She only started photography when we was 48, after she received a camera as a present. Cameron developed soft-focused "fancy portraits" and the majority of her pictures were either closely framed portraits or illustrative allegories. Cameron photographed many celebrities of her time including Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson and George Frederic Watts to name a few. The portraits that she took were very close cropped around the face and soft-focused. Her photographic illustrations were typically about historical scenes or literary works and she designed them to look like oil paintings. This picture is called "Annie, my first success" and was taken in 1864. It is the first picture that Cameron felt satisfied with and you can see her style of closely cropped and soft-focused easily:
Lady Clementina Howarden: Howarden was also a portrait photographer however, she focused more on the background and environment than the faces of the people. Howarden started off taking stereoscopic landscape photographs but then moved on to images of her daughters which influenced her style of photographs. She used natural light for her photographs - which at the time was considered as being daring - and would put mirrors to reflect the light naturally. This is one of the pictures she took of her daughters - she would dress them up and strategically place them in their environment and surroundings.
Nadar: Gasparad-Félix Tournachon (or Nadar) was a French photographer who focused on portraits but was a pioneer in many other aspects of photography. He was the first person to ever take an aerial photograph and use artificial lighting (specifically for when he photographed the catacombs in Paris). One of the most famous photographs he took was of Victor Hugo on his death bed in 1885. He also did the first photo-interview and took erotic photographs. This is the famous Victor Hugo photograph:
Gustave Le Gray: Le Gray was a French photographer who not only pioneered photography but also taught some of the other famous photographers (such as Nadar). He was selected to be one of the first five photographers to document French monuments and buildings and also help found the "first photographic organization in the world". He was the official portraitist of Napoleon III and took famous pictures of seascapes. Le Gray improved paper negatives and used combination printing to create his seascapes. This is one of his seascapes called "The Great Wave":
Diane Arbus: Arbus was an American photographer who is most famous for her black-and-white squared pictures of deviant or marginalized people. She saw photography as a medium that could be cold but that ultimately reveals the truth. She liked to develop strong relationships with her subjects and photograph them for years. Arbus helped form The New York School of Photographers. This picture is called "A Jewish Giant at Home with His Parents in The Bronx, NY" and was taken 1970 and showcases her theme of unique individuals:
Susan Sontag: Sontag was an American writer, filmmaker and political activist. She wrote a book which was a collection of essays called "On Photography" in 1977. In the book, she examines modern-day photography and capitalism, as well as photography and American ideals. Sontag also argues that photographs make all events equal and the meanings are all level as well. She says that if someone is trying to record, they cannot be present in that moment so the moment caputred is separate from the person. This is a portrait of Sontag
Olympe Aguado: Aguado was a Franco-Spanish photographer in the 1850s and 1860s. He studied under Le Gray and was a pioneer for several photography techniques. He developed the carte-de-visite which added portraits to visiting cards. He also photographed Napoleon III and his wife and took staged portraits that poked fun at the empire and nobility. Aguado developed a process for enlargement of photographs but there are no pictures from that original development still around. This is a picture called "La Lectura" which is one of his staged portraits.
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