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MDSA02 ch 7 - PHOTOGRAPHY.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Media Studies
Ted Petit

Chapter 7 - Photography  photography (i.e. holocaust, salvery, animal cruetly) = generated anger, humiliation + change  documentary and travel photography have enriched our culture and awareness of other cultures Ancient Roots  16th c in Italy a room called a camera obscura that reflected images aided drafting and painting; to sharpen the image, aritsts placed a lens over the pinhole; to preserve it they traced it onto a sheet of paper  by the 17th c portable rooms were built - ppl realized they didnt have to stand inside a room to capture the image  the camera obsurva shrank to a box carried under the arm  18th c - chemical discoveries provided the way to photography  experiments confirmed that light was possible Niepce and Daguerre  in 1827, Joseph Niepce used a camera obscura to produce what until was considered the worlds first true photograph - an image of the courtyard outside his window  niepce became partners w/ Louis Daguerre, a painter and theatrical producer who was also trying to a capture a camera image; after Niepce's death - Daguerre improved the process  in 1837 he produced a photograph of surprising quality on a copper plate coated w/ silver + exposed to iodine fumes ("daguerreotype")  English scientist William Fox Talbot, was able to create a translucent paper to make any # of contact positives, something that Daguerre could not do  the problem of the darkening image was solved in 1839 w/ sodium thiosulfate  Fox Talbot was soon taking pictures of buildings, rooftops, and chimneys - afer years of optical improvements was he able to take photos of people  all three of these guys ^^^ worked independently and unaware of e/o, yet they were producing similar pics w/ similar chemicals and equipment o Daguerre's results were far superior, but Talbot could make multiple copies Hobby and Business  Daguerreotype processes received an enthusiastic welcome in the US even though the nation was headed into economic depression  Smaller cameras reduced the size of photographic plates + reduced time theyd have to sit still  By 1850s the cost of a photograph had dropped enough to make them available to most Americans o Fam photos became popular, esp of children bc infant mortality rate was high (epidemics common) Wet Plate Photography Two known methods of taking photographs had severe limitations:  Daguerreotype o 1 of a kind poisitives, usually on copper plates o Fragile + had to be kept under glass o Expensive, hard to copy and require a # of chemicals, including the dangerous mercury (affected the brain) o It produced a sharper image + was better suited to portraiture than the calotype  Calotype  Prints faded in the light over time 1 In 1851 – Frederick Archer introduced wet-plate photography; those other 2 methods ^ were obsolete within a decade  greater sensitivity & a shorter exposure time; made multiple prints from 1 glass plate  Process was complicated & untidy  Using this method, a photography on the road brought along a darkroom  Versions of wet-plate photography: o Ambrotype  Offered by photo studios; lacked brilliance of daguerreotypes but they were cheap, easy to produce and could be prepared while u wait o Tintypes  Printed on iron sheets (instead of paper); sturdy yet still able to be cut; thin enough to carry in pocket  Soldiers mailed them to families they left behind Capturing the World  1854 – album of photographs of ancient Egyptian monuments was published  Photos became sewn into books  Printing of photos on regular pages + text had to wait until the art of photoengraving advanced sufficiently toward the end of the 19 c (of which newspapers blossomed w/ photographs)  1850s - Felice Beato (Italian) and Robertson, recorded the aftermath of an uprising against the British in India – first time in history people safe at home saw a little of what went on in war Civil War Photos and More  Aftermath of American Civil War battles – NY portrait photograph
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