10 IMAGES THAT CHANGED THE PHOTO COURSE
From the time when the inventor Nicéphore Niépce published the first ever photograph in the 1820s, this kind of creativity has come a long way during its two centuries of existence. The book “The Brief History of Photography: A Pocket Guide to Key Genres, Works, Topics and Techniques” by Laurence King Publishing, by Jan Haydn Smith (Ian Haydn Smith), focuses on important photos that have shaped both artistic expression and public opinion. Below is a selection of some of these photos, followed by excerpts from the book.
Nicephore Nieppez, “View from the Window at Le Gras”, 1826-27
The inventor and discoverer scientist Nicephore Niepce embodied his interest in lithography and experiments with a camera obscura and made one of the first major breakthroughs in photography.
The earliest surviving photographic image was considered lost for more than 50 years, until in 1952 it was discovered in a suitcase by the historian of photography Helmut Gernsheim. To get it, Niepce picked up a tin plate and covered it with a thin layer of Jewish resin (asphalt). The light-sensitive qualities of this compound allowed Niepce to develop a process that he called “heliography”. The photosensitive coating hardened when exposed to light.
After exposure to such a plate, it was washed with a solvent based on lavender oil, and only solidified areas remained on it. Thus, the image was literally embedded in the surface by sunlight. Niepce’s first attempt to exhibit a view of one of the rooms in his family home was made on the surface of a lithographic plate, but eventually it was erased. This photograph was originally considered the result of an eight or nine hour exposure to sunlight on the walls. But later one researcher, using the notes of Niepce and the same photographic process, found out that the exposure time actually lasted several days (!).
Man Ray, Violin Engra, 1924
Born in America, Man Ray made Paris his home. He became the photographic embodiment of the avant-garde movements of Dadaism and surrealism. Man Ray blurred the line between fashion and art, achieving an amazing effect.
For a photograph portrait of “Violin Engra,” which depicts a nightclub singer, actress, artist and model artist Kiki de Montparnasse, Man Ray painted two f-shaped holes (efs) on the unexposed film body, and then exposed it. Ingres’ violin refers to one of Man Ray’s sources of inspiration — the French neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, who also played the violin. Kiki’s body, turned into a musical instrument, as if hinting that it should be played. At that time, Kiki and Man Ray were lovers, which complements this interpretation. The fact that the viewer does not see the arms and legs of the model underlines the vulnerability of the image. The name of the photo contains a French idiomatic turn, which means “hobby”, which hints at the ambivalence of the image, between objectization and beauty, although with a certain amount of humor.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled # 96, 1981
Not a single photographer has created such a complex dialogue between the viewer and the image of social attitudes towards sex and identity issues through self-portrait like photo artist Cindy Sherman.
This photo refers to the second series of Sherman raids in color, which explores how women are represented in pornographic magazines. By order of Artforum, each photo should be placed on a double-page spread in the style of Playboy magazine. Shooting performed close-ups, this method Sherman will continue to use in their projects.
In the photo, Sherman uses an orange almost kitschy color, the model lies with a raised skirt exposing the part of the girl’s thigh. A facial expression could be read as thoughtfulness, a crumpled sheet of paper with dating ads in her hand suggests that she just made or is about to make a call. Photography goes beyond simple imitation of style, and Sherman questions both the presentation and the perception of such images.
Andy Warhol, “Self-Portrait in Women’s Clothing” (Platinum Pageboy Wig), 1981
Leading pop art avant-garde artist Andy Warhol used the limitations of the Polaroid camera to create thousands of portraits. Photography has always been central to the work of Warhol.