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Introduction to... Photography

21 Mar 2021 11:34 AM | Lesley Samms (Administrator)

You don't take a photograph, you make it. – Ansel Adams

Photography is a dynamic artistic medium. Broadly, it refers to the process of creating a photo as an image produced by light on a light sensitive material(s).

The history of photography began with the discovery of two critical principles: camera obscura image projection, knowledge of which is thought to date from the 4th century BCE, and the observation that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light. In the mid-1820s, Nicéphore Niépce was the first person to fix an image that was captured with a camera, but it required an incredibly long exposure time (at least 8 hours) and the results were very rough. Niépce's associate Louis Daguerre however went on to develop the daguerreotype process, the first publicly announced and commercially viable photographic process, requiring only minutes of exposure and clear, defined results.

Portraiture was the main driver for the early adoption of photography as an art form. Portrait painting was only available to aristocrats and the very wealthy. Photography changed all this, by offering an affordable alternative. Consequently, photography fundamentally changed the face of art. No longer were artists required to present a “photo’ realistic view, as this could now be created in the camera. This lead to a revolution in art genre and the arrival of movements such as cubism and surrealism.

Sir John Herschel coined the word photograph in 1839, based on Greek ‘phos’ meaning ‘light’ and ‘graphe’ meaning ‘drawing’. Photograph literally means drawing with light. The first photography exhibition took place in 1858 at the (now) Victoria and Albert Museum!

Unlike some other artistic mediums, photography took time to be accepted as a fine art medium. Today however, many photographic fine artworks are created using a camera. For example, artist David Hockney used his Ipad as a medium for artworks he exhibited as part of his "Bigger Picture" exhibition at the RA in 2012.

There are two types of fine art photography - digital and non-digital. Most of us will be highly familiar with digital photography, as the majority of us have a phone in our pockets! However, non-digital photography uses two chemical processes to produce the artwork. A light sensitive film or surface is used to capture a negative image, from which a positive image can be made when printing. Photography as a medium, specifically digital photography, led to a surge in printmaking, and specifically giclee printing.

At Pure, we are delighted to currently be hosting a photography exhibition with ART360 artist Richard Heeps, entitled ‘Speed, Lifestyle & Technicolour’. "Richards' seductive, highly saturated colours and sophisticated pictorial structures demonstrate a true love and empathy for his subject matter - be it cool descriptive interiors, still life or landscape. His distinctive style pushes the limits of lens- based photography without the need for digital manipulation."

View and buy here

Annie Leibovitz who started her career with Rolling Stone Magazine and has photographed almost every celebrity imaginable.

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Richard Avedon 

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Vivian Maier  

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Ansel Adams 

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Henri Cartier Bresson 

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Diane Arbus 

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Oliver Chanarin

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If this post has whet your appetite, take a look at our Pure ART360 Magazines for fine photographic artwork being created today.


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