Photographically Changing the World
What is the first thing you do when you want to remember an important moment in your life? You don't stop and write about it or quickly sketch what is going on, you snap a photograph of it! Photography can take you back in time, transport you to other countries and catalog discoveries. Without photography you wouldn't have an easy, reliable way to document your life! The invention of the camera, by Joseph Niépce, may be one of the most important technological advances in history. Although complicated in the beginning, after being simplified it opened a new medium of art to be explored, change how the populous documented life and created a more relatable way to distribute news during significant world events. This invention of the camera led to multiple other inventions and has created a domino effect of discoveries. The effects the discovery of the camera had on our nation and throughout the world are never ending. The use of the camera, through photography has created an everlasting record of life and more importantly helped to advance our world historically.
The word photography comes from two Greek words that mean "writing with light". The process that Joseph Niépce went through in order to produce and image was largely due to the manipulation of light. He used a form of asphalt that changed when exposed to the light, the light would burn an image into the dark bitumen, creating the copy of what was reflected (Grundberg). Niépce wasn't even interested in photography, he was an engraver and was trying to make an easier way for him to copy a print. In 1826 Niépce named the device camera obscure and produced the first image of his estate in France (picture below). Niépce then shared his photographic findings with Jacques Mandé Deguerre in 1829. Deguerra created the "wet-plate photographic process", photographers had to prepare the glass with collodion and silver nitrate before inserting it into the camera and exposing the glass to light for a few seconds. The glass has to be kept in a light-tight container and then developed in pyrogallic acid (civilwar.org). It wasn't until two years after Niépce's death that Deguerre perfected this image process and announced it to the French Academy of Sciences, and then to the world (The Invention of Photography). The processed was called a daguerrotype and soon became France's gift to the world.
When the camera obscure became accessible to the public, artist's techniques began to change. Traditionally portraits were painted and took days to create and perfect. Although the ability to create hyperreal paintings is commendable, photography quickly took over the market for portraits. The time it took to take a photograph was immensely shorter than sitting for a painting. The increase in photographic portraits forced painters to explore and create new art techniques. This was when impressionism came to the art world. Photography gave other art mediums a challenge and therefore helped start a revolution in styles of art. Photography wasn't always praised, especially by traditional artist. It was said to be a biased art form and only created a reality that the photographer want to portray. A French poet, Charles Baudelaire said that "if photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted and corrupt fit altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the multitude which it is natural ally." He believed that because of the function of the camera lens being so accurate that it left no room for imagination or artistic style (Grundberg). The art of photography has since then been "approved" but the classical artists. Many of the portrait painters realized photography's value and picked up the art themselves.
After its acceptance into the artist world, photography celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1889. Although photography was strictly a profession for an artist, it soon became accessible by the public. George...
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