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Photography: Society’s Views Through The Ages.

1389 words - 6 pages

Photography, by definition, is “the art and science of creating images using light,” (Lewis). As an art, it has undoubtedly touched the lives of many and as a science, it has allowed for many breakthroughs that have advanced our society in very profound ways. However, as with anything new or technologically advanced, there are always people that will oppose it. As the technology behind photography has advanced more and more over the years, society’s views towards photography have evidently shifted to be increasingly negative.

To begin, I’ll talk about some of the views regarding photography that don’t correlate with any sort of advancement in the technology behind it. Many have suggested that photography is not and should not be considered as a form of art. Those who feel this way attribute it to the accuracy that cameras possess as a result of being a mechanical process. Rembrandt at one point accused photographers of lacking the “skill, taste, mind, and judgement that is required to paint a portrait,” ("Photography (1815-1850),"). His opinion seems like it would be popular, especially today, with the countless smart phones that represent all that photography has to offer for many people, not including myself.

Contrary to popular belief, photography has been around even since the times of Aristotle. Known as a “camera obscura”, people in those times would construct a dark room (no relation to dark rooms used for film processing) with a small hole in the wall or window. In doing that, an inverted image of the view outside would be projected onto the opposite wall. This provided no means to save the image, but the image could be drawn or traced, and the basis for photography was created (Gernsheim 3). These camera obscuras were also know to be used by travelers to trace images of where they had been. Photography would see no way to actually record images until the 1800s with the work of Daguerre (Lewis).

Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, one of the most important figures in photography over its entire history, was born in Corneilles-en-Parisis, France in 1787. He spent much of his time making sets for plays, and often used a camera obscura for aiding in doing so. However, making his sketches like this was often very tedious, so he set out to somehow fix his sketches chemically. Alongside Joseph Niépce, he discovered how to do so in the 1820s, releasing his knowledge to the public in 1839, when they created the Daguerrotype (“Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre,”). In doing this, Daguerre had started something huge. His work has permanently affected the world in countless ways, both good and bad. In 1826, Niepce took the first picture (see fig. 1). It was of his family’s estate in France. As you can see, it was by today’s standards, a very low quality photograph. It makes sense, as photography was in its infancy. However, it is still the first photograph ever taken, and it is interesting to see how far photography has come.

Fig. 1. Niépce, Joseph....

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