This will be the first of 2 installments on the medium of Photography, with regards to the history, background, devolvement, etc. of the medium itself; while the 2nd installment will be a direct response / point of view in facture, from two different working artists in the field.
“…But that’s not really a true art form…”
Still a dilemma in the genre for many, and it’s been said repeatedly through the years. However, I’m inclined to look at it from the perspective that enough profound and excellent work has been and is done with the subject, that it speaks for itself without the need of qualifier…“You know it when you see it!” Historical information on the subject presents several people that share the credit for the actual invention of the medium itself in the early 1800’s, as well as others experimenting with associated optical, chemical & surface involvement. Even centuries before experiments were being done.
In the 16th & 17th century, images were being projected on to paper and glass with early cameras. The invention of the ‘pinhole’ camera is credited to even some centuries before that*, and by the late 1830’s-40’s it was rolling right along. Criticism was there at the outset of course. Often denounced, poked, and mocked in relevance, conception, significance, etc. along with other assorted bits of preconceived snobbery and lack of foresight, individuals work continued on…
And even after a century’s time henceforth, some still find the medium held-up for unyielding preconceptions and criticisms in it’s legitimacy as an Art form. Webster’s defines photography as ‘the art or process of producing images on a sensitized surface (as a film) by the action of radiant energy and esp. light’…Too often people lose the realization of the profound manifestations of range, uniqueness, presence, vision, and often the grand magnificence and communication that are at times captured within the medium itself. And, in failing to realize, that there are many facets to Art (i.e. the variations of forms) that possibly didn’t exist or were not yet utilized at a given time or place, i.e. instruments not yet created or used in one part of the world or another, or materials not available; as with the electronically generated sounds and images that could not have existed 400 years ago. But in their time (this) and in the future, they will have produced a relevant contribution of form in creativity that effects and inspires different taste of the social milieu of the day. And as our evolution continues, so will other forms of art maintain a distinct & poignant reflection of where, how, and what, the present / past world of what defines and represents what Art is.
Questions of legitimacy and representation are a part of the very nature of new & old forms. When not following or mimicking specific traditions or procedure, or not being congruent with the excepted norm, people will often scoff, and the Photography’s take on things is no exception.
*Taken from sources: (1) The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition 2004. (2) History of the Camera, at the site-CameraManual.com.
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