Photography: Saving Nature
“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” - Eudora Welty. There are many different types of photography: Portraiture, commercial advertising, nature photography and photojournalism. Nature photography, in particular, can be used to document life and nature on planet earth that could be destroyed within seconds by a natural disaster. It can also be used to help preserve and raise public awareness of the wilderness just like Group f/64, Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham were able to achieve. Critics may state that photography is simply a hobby or something that it does not require much skill. However, throughout history, photographers have exposed millions of viewers to the true beauty of nature. In doing so, they have impacted the public’s demand for nature conservation and have truly had an impact on saving much of the world’s pristine wilderness. In 1826, the first successful permanent photograph was made by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, (Joyner & Monaghan) but the term “photography” was not used until 1839 by Sir John Herschel. (Leggat) Photography is a combination of both art and science, and with the help of a camera, it gives one the ability to record a moment in time, forever. A camera is simply a lightproof box with an opening to admit light onto light-sensitive material or imaging sensor to record an image. The first camera ever invented was called camera obscura, which was invented hundreds of years before photography itself was invented. These cameras were used as drawing aids for Western artists in the sixteenth century. (Joyner & Monaghan) “Cameras have come a long way, from the first crude cameras that projected images onto walls to the day-long exposure times of the 1820s to the 60-second Polaroids of the 1950s and ‘60s to digital cameras today.” (Lynn) As time passed, technology advanced, aiding the development of higher quality cameras. Cameras obscuras continued to be used with a variety of printing treatments, however, when the first folding camera was introduced by Charles Chevalier in 1840, it made cameras much more portable. (Lynn) Due to the fact that these folding cameras were easier to travel with, it was now possible for photographers to begin recording events happening around them at that very moment in time. In the mid-1850s Bellow cameras, which allowed for greater focal length and the ability to take close-ups, were introduced. (Lynn) With the ability to take close up pictures, portrait photography would begin to emerge and rapidly become widespread since it offered different ways of viewing the world. “In 1888, the George Eastman Company introduced the first Kodak camera, the lightest and simplest camera to date. It sold for $25, with the slogan ‘You press the button, we do the rest.’” (Lynn) This showed how with time and technology, cameras began to become practical and affordable for the first time and also grabbing the general public attention. Zin 1900, the popular Kodak Brownie camera debuted with a retail price of $1. (Lynn) Now, owning a camera was more affordable than ever and the majority of the public would be able to own a camera and make their own pictures, developing the public’s greater appreciation for photography. In 1947, Edwin Land produced the first Polaroid camera, which produced an image in just 60 seconds. (Lynn) With this new camera, one did not have to wait for the pictures to develop but rather the pictures were produced from the camera in seconds. It was not until the 1980’s that the development of professional, autofocus 35mm SLR’s and point-and-shoot cameras took off; for example in 1981 Sony’s Mavica recoded images onto a minidisk instead of film but it was not until 1991 that the first digital camera was introduced by Kodak. (Lynn) Thanks to the development of digital SLR’s, photographers would be able to preview the final product of the pictures taken at that very moment. These advancements enabled photographers to start an...
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