Meudon – André Kertész – 1928
1. What is photography’s “true genius”?
‘How can something that reveals so much, keep so much to itself?’ This quotation taken from the documentary, states that although photography is able to capture a moment in time, not all is seen. The true genius of Photography is, to make us think; something that evokes a feeling or a thought that is then spoken about and shared.
‘Shellshocked US Marine’ – Don McCullin – 1968
The way that this photograph was perceived by a nation changed history, the thoughts that were evoked when seeing this image shocked the world. As an audience we cannot begin to fathom what the soldier has been through, the photo ‘keeping so much to itself’ yet at the same time we are able to see that the soldier has gone through so much trauma he looks almost lifeless, this ‘revealing so much’ as it’s effects changed history and helped to end the war.
2. Name a proto-photographer.
Henry-Fox Talbot. His experimentations with silver salt covered paper led him to invent the Calotype process – the process that used the idea of positive and negative prints.
3. In the 19th century, what term was associated with the daguerreotype?
‘Mirror with a memory’ – the daguerreotype, was one of the earliest examples of a time and place that had been frozen for eternity.
4. What is the vernacular?
Vernacular in photography is a type of photography created for purposes that are outside of art. It is a genre of photography that contains journalistic, touristic, scientific, forensic, legal and every day family and friend photographs; basically all things except art.
5. How do you “Fix the Shadows”?
It was found that in the 1830’s there were certain chemicals that were light sensitive, for example silver chloride and silver nitrate. What was needed was to find a way of ‘fixing’ the image to stop the exposure; however it was something that proved to be difficult.
Henry Fox Talbot had a method of fixing the shadows, it was through camera obscura; he had a mouse trap camera set up that held the negative and the paper but it only exposed for a short amount of time.
Louis Daguerre also had a method of fixing the shadows; he created the daguerreotype in order to stop the shadows. The basic process of this was to fix his images on a mirrored metal plate.
6. What is the “carte de visite”?
Carte de visite are small photos printed on pieces of card, their purpose to exchange between family and friends. Due to their size it was easy to send through post, and a lot cheaper than large format prints.
7. Who was Nadar and why was he so successful?
Gaspard Felix Tournachon , also known as Nadar was a successful artist turned photographer. The name Nadar was created as his ‘franchise’ – with a personal touch of red lettering it became his own brand, this making him one of the most well-known commercial photographers.
Nadar – Self Portrait
In the studio, Nadar had mastered the ‘natural expression’ within portraits, something that was unknown in the 1800’s. Nadar photographed upcoming artists and celebrities, the way he photographed them, was to make them seem as natural as possible – photographing them to be equals. Without the conventional mock up settings other photographers used, Nadar was able to capture his clients in an authentic and beautiful manner, capturing the real them. This method of his created the best portraits of the time.
Nadar – Franz Lisztn
8. What is pictorialism?
Pictorialism is the genre of photography that was created by fine art artists, to use against the Vernacular photography that was becoming ever so popular. The Pictorialism artists focused on the style of photography as oppose to the content; they created fictional words making situations that didn’t exist. The photographs projected an emotional intent into the viewer’s imagination. This genre of photography was a visual appealing movement and it lead photography in the late 19th/early 20th century.
Elias Goldensky – Portrait of Three Women