Ch 4 Photography

Dorothea Lange’s classic photo, Migrant mother, and the previous sequence of photos (above in the header).

From early woodcuts to modern photographs, the visual revolution changed the way people see the world.  This chapter describes the invention and development of photography, the questions of art and copyright, the photographic movements, the uses of photography for social reform, the advent of digital photography and the ethical issues that photography presents.

Discussion questions

  1. Gift to humanity: Louis Daguerre gave away his patents to photography. How did this inspire other inventors in the history of media?
  2. Social reform and photography:  Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine used photography to expose suffering and spur reform.  Sebastião Salgado is documenting child labor today; Carol Highsmith and ThisisAmericaFoundation is carrying on the  work of Dorothea Lange. Can you find others who are carrying on from the work of past photographers?
  3. Technology and change:  How did the invention of celluloid film and flash photography influence the social uses of photography?
  4. Images are everywhere:  Today, how can we imagine anything if it’s already been imagined for us? That’s what actor Adrian Brody asks in this clip from the movie Detachment.  What is the message of this clip? What do they want viewers to do?

People & Events

Louis Daguerre, Joseph Niepce, Matthew Brady, Roger Fenton, Edward Steichen, Joseph Steiglitz, Paul Strand, George Eastman, Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Sebastio Salgado, Henry Luce, Gordon Parks, Robert Capa, Joe Rosenthal, Ansel Adams, Jacques Cousteau

Invention by Daguerre, copyright and photography, celluloid film, flash photography for indoors, Pictorialist movement, Straight photography movement,  Farm Services Administration, photo magazines, war photography, digital photos, ethical issues, future of photography.

Documentary Videos

  • American Photography: A Century of Images, a three-part PBS documentary,  introduces most of the major movements and US figures such as Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Annie Liebowitz.
  • History of photography:   Colores series, New Mexico PBS, features Beaumont Newell, historian and photographer who assembled the 1938 New York Museum of Modern Art exhibit of 100 years of photography.
  • Annie Liebovich: Life through a lens
  • Half Past Autumn:  The life and work of Gordon Parks
  • Darkness and Light: Richard Avedon
  • American Masters: Alfred Steiglitz 

Before photography:

The image before photography
(has its own page now … )   

About Photography

19th century photography

  1. Roger Fenton’s Crimean War photo mystery — were the cannon balls originally ON or OFF the road?   Did Fenton throw cannon balls on the road to make it appear more dangerous? Or did someone clear off the cannon balls to reduce the danger?
  2. PBS American Photography — Home page for the excellent  documentary series.
  3. Photo history quiz –– Can you recognize the photographer?
  4. Daguerreotypes — Library of Congress
  5. 1848 Daguerreotypes Bring Middle America’s Past to Life |
  6. Civil War Photos — Library of Congress collection —
  7. Two mysterious Civil War photos — Washington Post, June 2012
  8. Spirit photography and the Brown Lady of Raynham
  9. Interview with Matthew Brady 1891
  10. How the Other Half Lives, by Jacob Riis. Published in 1890, this is about social work and photography in the slums of New York.  Riis was remembered in a 2013 article noting that   Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who relentlessly brought home the message of “the tale of two cities” in his campaign, was not the first New Yorker to sound that theme.
  11. The Eastman house photography collection is massive and spans the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  12. The Gibsons of Scilly have been photographing shipwrecks since 1869.
  13. Layla Deen Dayal, India’s premier 19th century photographer, is remembered by a foundation dedicated to preserving his work.

20th century photography

  1.  The image  of the Hindenberg is a major issue for developers of hydrogen fueled vehicles.
  2. W. Eugene Smith’s photos coming to light, Paris Review, April 2016.
  3. Lewis Hine Project — Great web site gives more information on his investigative photojournalism and foll0ws up on Hine’s subjects.
  4. Dorothea Lange interview 1960 – 1961  oral history interview by University of California  Berkeley’s Suzanne B. Reiss. Extraordinary pdf download from Internet Archive.   Interesting comments on the Japanese relocation camps and Ansel Adams’ “shameful” approval of it.  (Note: An Adams photo from those camps is on p. 133 of the printed version of Revolutions in Communication.)
  5. “Bound for Glory” — Library of Congress collection of 1930s – 40s photos in color.
  6. The Mexican Suitcase” — Lost photos of Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and David “Chim” Seymour taken during the Spanish Civil War were found d in Mexico City, among the belongings of the Mexican ambassador to Vichy France and finally returned to Cornell Capa, the younger brother of Robert Capa and the founder of the International Center of Photography in New York City.
  7. Photographing the Mexican Revolution, by John Mraz, considers the problem of how images are used to reconstruct societies in conflict.
  8. Iconic photo of  Nov. 24, 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald killing was taken by a Dallas News photographer who had run out of film two days beforehand.
  9. Ellen Fried, Images that endure — From Pearl Harbor to Elvis, National Archives Prologue magazine, 2004
  10. Archive of  Life Magazine 
  11. Facing Change is a new photography project in the tradition of the FSA of the 1930s.  And here’s a Washington Post article about Facing Change.
  12. Masters of Photography — Commercial site that gives a good overview of the variety of photojournalists and photographic artists.
  13. Repaired data drives restore original Lunar Lander images. (2008)\
  14. Rare color photos of WWII — Time Magazine, 2013.
  15. On Robert Capa’s 100th birthday, Magnum asks photographers to get closer. Time, Oct 22, 2013.
  16. Iconic photos and the editing process at Magnum photos. Petapixel, Sept. 12,  2013.
  17. New York Journal American (Hearst) photo collection, UT Austin.
  18. Robert Frank, one of America’s most influential photographers, New York Times, July 2, 2015.
  19.   Video of Nick Ut’s Pulitzer-winning photo from Vietnam.  And Napalm girl turns 4o. Associated Press.  June 2, 2012.
  20. The ‘Shirley’ — Color photography’s racist technology. Upworthy, Sept. 2015.
  21. Gordon Parks collections coming to light –
    1. New York Times 2014
    2. Daily Mail 2016  
    3. YouTube video 

21st century photography

  1. Lens. A New York Times blog about photography and visual journalism.
  2. Rachel Nuwer, A Photographic Call to Action, New York Times, October 25, 2011,  noting the idea that photography could rally others to work together to save nature’s places of spiritual sanctuary for future generations.
  3. London Photographers Gallery show summer 2012:  Burtynsky’s petroleum-deformed landscapes.
  4. April, 2011: The EPA is calling for documentary photos of environmental issues.  Here are links to the AP Story and also EPA Flickr site.
  5. Why the Lytro camera is a ‘game changer’ for photography – Washington Post, March 1, 2012.
  6. Gigapixel camera may revolutionize photography, LA Times June 21, 2012.
  7. Witness  is a powerful HBO series produced by filmmaker Michael Mann and documentarian David Frankham that profiles war-zone photographers at work in Mexico, South Sudan, Brazil and Libya.
  8. Stacy Pearsall, combat photographer profiled by the New York Times May, 2013.
  9. Parody of AP’s Iwo Jima photo raises hackles among opponents of gay marriage. ABC News, July 2, 2015.
  10. State of news photography, Reuters Institute, Oxford University, Sept. 2015.

The end of Kodak and ‘wet’ photography

  1.  Five reasons for Kodak’s bankruptcy, Feb. 24, 2012, Wall Street Journal.
  2. Seven lessons from the demise of Kodak, Jan. 12, 2012, Forbes.
  3. Steve Sasson, inventor portrait, Vimeo, 2012.
  4. Kodak employed 140,000 people. Instagram, 13.  Digital visionary Jaron Lanier says the Web kills jobs, wealth, the middle class  — even democracy.   Salon. May 12, 2013.
  5. Kodak’s digital moment, New York Times, Aug. 13, 2015.
  6. This Kodak employee invented the digital camera, and then his bosses made him hide it, BRW (Australia), Aug. 13, 2015.