Why Art Photography?


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Routledge, London. ISBN This sole-author book is a critical examination of the phenomenon of contemporary art photography.


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It was the product of extensive readings across philosophy, psychology and performance studies. As part of her research, Soutter also surveyed the output of many contemporary art photographers, selecting works for analysis by emergent figures such as Richard Kolker, Zoe Crosher and Jon Rafman, who have not hitherto been the subject of significant critical examination. The enthusiastic ushers make you high five them with laser-like force. Your seat mates want to chat you up immediately. And they make you dance… Tony Robbins makes you dance….

Not quite a good analogy. How about this? I fell in love with photography looking at a lateth-century photograph of a bare-branched tree. The texture of the albumen print, the shallow depth of field, this ancient and towering tree—this image put me right there to the extent that I could smell the mouldering leaves on the ground and the crispness of the Fall air. I consumed that image without looking at the ingredients and it consumed me right back. That love evolved into an abyss of curiosity about all kinds of photography. I want to discover why I gravitate one way or the other. Soutter dispenses a lot of ideas in Why Art Photography?

Other important technical advances in the history of photography , included the following. Photoetching was invented in by the Frenchman Joseph Niepce , who also made the first photograph from nature in Improvements in the reduction of exposure time, the daguerreotype were found by German Professor Heinrich Schultz and French physicist Louis Daguerre , in , with Daguerre being responsible for the first ever photograph of a person in In parallel to this, in , the French-Brazilian artist and inventor Hercule Florence had fashioned a similar process, called Photographie , while the English inventor and pioneer camera expert William Fox Talbot was busy inventing the calotype process, which produced negative images.

His s research into photo-mechanical reproduction led to the discovery of the photoglyphic engraving process, the precursor to photogravure.

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The experimental British scientist John Herschel invented the cyanotype process and was the first to coin the terms " photography ", " negative " and " positive ". In , Frederick Scott Archer announced the findings of his research into the wet plate collodion process, which significantly improved the accessibility of photography for the public, as did the American innovator George Eastman 's introduction of roll film as a replacement for photographic plates. In , the French scientist Gabriel Lippmann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his improvements in photographic colour reproduction.

The development of the photographic process was studded with such discoveries and inventions, and many other advances in photographic glass plates and printing methods were made during the 19th century. Victorian exponents included John Edwin Mayall , who snapped some of the earliest photographs of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; Julia Margaret Cameron , noted for her photographic portraits and mythological images; and Oscar Gustave Rejlander , the Swedish cameraman and photomontage expert who worked with Charles Darwin on The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

Twentieth century advances in photographic technology have been dominated by improvements in film and cinematography, leading to new creative forms such as animation art , cartoons and video art. Photography evolved from the camera obscura , an instrument that projected an image through a small hole, allowing the artist to make an accurate tracing of an object or scene. The first mention of its use as a drawing aid appeared in Magia Naturalis , a scientific treatise by the Italian scientist Giambattista della Porta.

Many Old Masters from the 17th and 18th century, including Jan Vermeer , and Canaletto , are believed to have used it in their sketching.

Fine-art photography - Wikipedia

With the spread of camera-photography from onwards, the use of photos became common in the production of both portrait art as well as landscape painting. Many figure painters and portraitists began using the new medium of photography in addition to models, to reduce sitting-time.


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The great 19th century American realist painter, Thomas Eakins , for instance, was an avid user of the camera, who employed photography as part of his pursuit of realism, rather than as a short-cut or aid to composition and perspective. Photography was also employed by landscape artists - notably the French Impressionist painters , as an aid to plein-air painting. For more details, see: History of Art.

Photography as a Fine Art. Although by the late 19th century, photography had become accepted in both Britain and America as a minor visual art - due in part to the promotional efforts of magazines like "American Amateur Photographer", as well as bodies like the "Society of Amateur Photographers", the "Society of Amateur Photographers of New York", the "Photographic Society of Philadelphia", and the "Boston Camera Club" - several photographic artists were keen to show that the new medium could be just as artistic as other types of art , like drawing and painting.

Two such artists were Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen Both were instrumental in helping to make photography a fine art , and Stieglitz in particular and also his wife, Georgia O'Keeffe was responsible for introducing it into museum collections. A landmark event occurred in , with Stieglitz's formation in America of Photo-Secession , an association of creative photographers, and the publication of its magazine Camera Work , which rapidly became a forum for modern art of all types.

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In , Stieglitz and Steichen founded the "" gallery in New York, a venue specializing in avant-garde art , notably photographs, paintings and sculptures. Pictorialism c. While Stieglitz and Edward Steichen were doing their best to promote photography as a full-blown art form, Pictorialism - the first major style of photographic art - was becoming high fashion among lens-based artists, around the turn of the century. Pictorialism referred to typically dreamy, 'soft-focus' photographs that were effectively "created" in the dark room.

Instead of recording the image of a particular subject, the photographer manipulated the printing process, in order to create the desired effect. For a pictorialist cameraman, a photograph was something to be manipulated just like a painter manipulated his canvas and palette of paints. Holland Day, Clarence H.

Why Art Photography? by Lucy Soutter (2013, Paperback)

Although Pictorialism enabled experimental artists like Man Ray to take photography to a new level of creativity, as an art form it proved disappointing, since most of the creativity had little to do with camera work, but involved the manipulation of chemicals and instruments in the dark room. See also the German Dada photomontage artists Raoul Hausmann and John Heartfield Helmut Herzfeld , as well as the innovative but controversial camera artist and filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl , who was associated with Nazi art in the form of propagandist pictorialism.

For later 20th century artists who have relied on photos as subject matter for their paintings, see: Gerhard Richter b. Sharp Focus Modernism. As an influential style, Pictorialism faded after , being superceded by the new idiom of photographic Modernism, as the public began to prefer more sharply-focused images.

Despite the disappointment of Pictorialism, photography gained in artistic status from its new sharper-focus, due to the evocative landscape photography of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams , as well as the Precisionism of Charles Sheeler , which he explored in his famous series of photographs of the Ford Motor Co's River Rouge Car Plant in Michigan, and the Cubist-inspired works of Paul Strand Modern photographers who have continued this tradition include Bernd and Hilla Becher and b.

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the photograph began replacing the painting as the modern form of portraiture. During the following century, as camera technology improved, photographic artists extended the medium to embrace a variety of different types of portraits, notably fashion and street portraits, as well as the more conventional formal portraits.

Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?
Why Art Photography? Why Art Photography?

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