ITAP ‘The Genius Of Photography’ Part One

What is photography’s “true genius”?

Photography’s true genius is the amount of emotions it can portray and give. It can delight people, move people, outrage people or disappoint people. But its most successful job is that it can intrigue people, by showing the secret strangeness that lies beneath a world of appearances.

Name a proto-photographer:

Henri Fox Talbot was a proto-photographer, who started experimenting with the camera obscurer in 1834. Talbot couldn’t draw, and struggled to transform 3D situations/ places into a flat image.

In the 19th century, what term was associated with the daguerreotype?

The daguerreotype was one of the first commercial photographic processes created by Louis Daguer. They were one off images created on a mirrored metal plate. In the 19thcentury people associated them with the phrase “The mirror with a memory”. This technique rivalled Talbot’s negative to positive process.

What is the vernacular?

The vernacular in photography is a photography created for purposes outside of art. For example, every day family photographs, identity proof, class portraits and travel photos etc. however, people can sometimes consider it as accidental art.

How do you “Fix the Shadows”?
In the 1830s it was found that certain chemical were light sensitive e.g. silver salts, silver chloride and silver nitrate. To find a way of fixing the image, to stop it exposing was difficult.
Henry Fox Talbot’s use of fixing the shadows was through camera obscura, with a mouse-trap camera that held the negative and carrying the paper but to be only exposed for a certain amount of time.
Louis Daguerre had his own method, who started in 1824, he created the daguerreotype to stop the shadows, where he would fix his images on a mirrored metal plate.

What is the “carte de visite”?

Carte de visite, are small albumen prints mounted on pieces of card that were patented in Paris. They were popular in their time as they were small and could be exchanged between family and friends and sent through the post. They were also cheaper than the large format prints.

Who was Nadar and why was he so successful?
Nadar was a successful artist who became the celebrity photographer in his time. He photographed other artists, and set up a business taking portraits. His real name wasGaspard-Félix Tournachon, and he created the name Nadar as his “franchise”, in red lettering, it became his brand. This made him one of the most well-known commercial photographers. At the time he pioneered the use of artificial lighting.

What is pictorialism?
 Pictorialism is a genre of photography that was created by fine artists against the Vernacular photography that had become so popular at the time. The artists focused mainly on the styles of the photography and not the content, creating fictional worlds, with nudes in natural landscapes etc. These weren’t situations that really exist.
It was an aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries.
A pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus (some more so than others), is printed in one or more colors other than black and white (ranging from warm brown to deep blue) and may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer’s realm of imagination.

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