With the invention of Photography it was prophesied that painting would cease to exist!


NOTE: Use the slide out menu at left to link to and view the pages of the artists in the Photography category

The Beginnings of Photography
© Robert Leggat, 2000.

Online Resources
First, the name. We owe the name "Photography" to Sir John Herschel, who first used the term in 1839, the year the photographic process became public. Well, actually, not quite. Whilst Herschel used the term first in a lecture before the Royal Society on March 14, 1839, he was in fact beaten to the post by an anonymous writer with the initials "J.M." a few weeks earlier, on February 25.

Eventually a scholar was able to determine that this anonymous writer was in fact Johann von Maedler (1794-1874), who was an astronomer in Berlin. However, Hershel was undoubtedly the person who, with his fame and position, made the word "photography" known to the world. The word is derived from the Greek words for light and writing. 

Before mentioning the stages that led to the development of photography, there is one amazing, quite uncanny prediction made by a man called de la Roche (1729- 1774) in a work called Giphantie. In this imaginary tale, it was possible to capture images from nature, on a canvas which had been coated with a sticky substance. This surface, so the tale goes, would not only provide a mirror image on the sticky canvas, but would remain on it. After it had been dried in the dark the image would remain permanent. The author would not have known how prophetic this tale would be, only a few decades after his death. 

There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible. It is somewhat surprising that photography was not invented earlier than the 1830s, because these processes had been known for quite some time. It was not until the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into being. 

The first of these processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been in existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated 1519, of a Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an aid to drawing was being advocated. 

The second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography was invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colours are bleached in the sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air and light. 

In the sixteen hundreds Robert Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society, had reported that silver chloride turned dark under exposure, but he appeared to believe that it was caused by exposure to the air, rather than to light. 
Angelo Sala, in the early seventeenth century, noticed that powdered nitrate of silver is blackened by the sun. 
In 1727 Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that certain liquids change colour when exposed to light. 
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Thomas Wedgwood was conducting experiments; he had successfully captured images, but his silhouettes could not survive, as there was no known method of making the image permanent. The first successful picture was produced in June/July 1827 by Niépce, using material that hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure of eight hours. 

On 4 January 1829 Niépce agreed to go into partnership with Louis Daguerre . Niépce died only four years later, but Daguerre continued to experiment. Soon he had discovered a way of developing photographic plates, a process which greatly reduced the exposure time from eight hours down to half an hour. He also discovered that an image could be made permanent by immersing it in salt. 

Following a report on this invention by Paul Delaroche , a leading scholar of the day, the French government bought the rights to it in July 1839. Details of the process were made public on 19 August 1839, and Daguerre named it the Daguerreotype. 

The announcement that the Daguerreotype "requires no knowledge of drawing...." and that "anyone may succeed.... and perform as well as the author of the invention" was greeted with enormous interest, and "Daguerreomania" became a craze overnight. An interesting account of these days is given by a writer called Gaudin , who was present the day that the announcement was made. However, not all people welcomed this exciting invention; some pundits viewed in quite sinister terms. A newspaper report in the Leipzig City Advertiser stated: "The wish to capture evanescent reflections is not only impossible... but the mere desire alone, the will to do so, is blasphemy. God created man in His own image, and no man- made machine may fix the image of God. Is it possible that God should have abandoned His eternal principles, and allowed a Frenchman... to give to the world an invention of the Devil?" 

At that time some artists saw in photography a threat to their livelihood, and some even prophesied that painting would cease to exist. 

The Daguerreotype process, though good, was expensive, and each picture was a once-only affair. That, to many, would not have been regarded as a disadvantage; it meant that the owner of the portrait could be certain that he had a piece of art that could not be duplicated. If however two copies were required, the only way of coping with this was to use two cameras side by side. There was, therefore, a growing need for a means of copying pictures which daguerreotypes could never satisfy. 

Different, and in a sense a rival to the Daguerreotype, was the Calotype invented by William Henry Fox Talbot , which was to provide the answer to that problem. His paper to the Royal Society of London, dated 31 January 1839, actually precedes the paper by Daguerre; it was entitled "Some account of the Art of Photogenic drawing, or the process by which natural objects may be made to delineate themselves without the aid of the artist's pencil." He wrote: "How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably and remain fixed on the paper!" 

The earliest paper negative we know of was produced in August 1835; it depicts the now famous window at Lacock Abbey, his home. The negative is small (1" square), and poor in quality, compared with the striking images produced by the Daguerreotype process. By 1840, however, Talbot had made some significant improvements, and by 1844 he was able to bring out a photographically illustrated book entitled "The Pencil of nature." 

Compared with Daguerreotypes the quality of the early Calotypes was somewhat inferior.  However, the great advantage of Talbot's method was that an unlimited number of positive prints could be made. In fact, today's photography is based on the same principle, whereas by comparison the Daguerreotype, for all its quality, was a blind alley. 

The mushrooming of photographic establishments reflects photography's growing popularity; from a mere handful in the mid 1840s the number had grown to 66 in 1855, and to 147 two years later. In London, a favourite venue was Regent Street where, in the peak in the mid 'sixties there were no less than forty-two photographic establishments! In America the growth was just as dramatic: in 1850 there were 77 photographic galleries in New York alone. The demand for photographs was such that Charles Baudelaire (1826-1867), a well known poet of the period and a critic of the medium, commented: "Our squalid society has rushed, Narcissus to a man, to gloat at its trivial image on a scrap of metal." 

Talbot's photography was on paper, and inevitably the imperfections of the paper were printed alongside with the image, when a positive was made. Several experimented with glass as a basis for negatives, but the problem was to make the silver solution stick to the shiny surface of the glass. In 1848 a cousin of Nicephore Niépce, Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor, perfected a process of coating a glass plate with white of egg sensitised with potassium iodide, and washed with an acid solution of silver nitrate. This new (albumen ) process made for very fine detail and much higher quality. However, it was very slow, hence the fact that photographs produced on this substance were architecture and landscapes; portraiture was simply not possible. 

Progress in this new art was slow in England, compared with other countries. Both Daguerre and Fox Talbot were partly responsible, the former for having rather slyly placed a patent on his invention whilst the French government had made it freely available to the world, the latter for his law-suits in connection with his patents. 

In 1851 a new era in photography was introduced by Frederick Scott Archer , who introduced the Collodion process. This process was much faster than conventional methods, reducing exposure times to two or three seconds, thus opening up new horizons in photography. 

Prices for daguerreotypes varied, but in general would cost about a guinea (£1.05), which would be the weekly wage for many workers. The collodion process, however, was much cheaper; prints could be made for as little as one shilling (5p). 

A further impetus was given to photography for the masses by the introduction of carte-de-visite photographs by Andre Disdéri . This developed into a mania, though it was relatively short-lived. 

The collodion process required that the coating, exposure and development of the image should be done whilst the plate was still wet. Another process developed by Archer was named the Ambrotype , which was a direct positive. 

The wet collodion process, though in its time a great step forward, required a considerable amount of equipment on location. There were various attempts to preserve exposed plates in wet collodion, for development at a more convenient time and place, but these preservatives lessened the sensitivity of the material. It was clear, then, that a dry method was required. 

The next major step forward came in 1871, when Dr. Richard Maddox discovered a way of using Gelatin (which had been discovered only a few years before) instead of glass as a basis for the photographic plate. This led to the development of the dry plate process. Dry plates could be developed much more quickly than with any previous technique. Initially it was very insensitive compared with existing processes, but it was refined to the extent that the idea of factory-made photographic material was now becoming possible. 

The introduction of the dry-plate process marked a turning point. No longer did one need the cumbersome wet-plates, no longer was a darkroom tent needed. One was very near the day that pictures could be taken without the photographer needing any specialised knowledge. 

Celluloid had been invented in the early eighteen-sixties, and John Carbutt persuaded a manufacturer to produce very thin celluloid as a backing for sensitive material. George Eastman is particularly remembered for introducing flexible film in 1884. Four years later he introduced the box camera, and photography could now reach a much greater number of people. 

Other names of significance include Herman Vogel , who developed a means whereby film could become sensitive to green light, and Eadweard Muybridge who paved the way for motion picture photography. 

Popular in the Victorian times was stereoscopic photography, which reproduced images in three dimensions. It is a process whose popularity waxed and waned - as it does now - reaching its heights in the mid-Victorian era.

Eugene Atget,
French, 1857-1927
Text from The Encyclopedia of Photography (1984)

Jean Eugene Auguste Atget, among the first of photography's social documenters, has come to be regarded as one of the medium's major figures. His images of Paris are perhaps the most vivid record of a city ever made.

Atget was born in Libourne, near Bordeaux, France, and was raised by an uncle from an early age after the deaths of his parents. He became a cabin boy and sailor and traveled widely until 1879 when he entered the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris. He studied there for two years and became an actor with minor roles in repertory and touring companies, but although he was talented, he was never successful. During this period a relationship developed between Atget and the actress Valentine Delafosse, with whom he lived for the rest of his life (she eventually became his photographic assistant). Together they were able to make a poor living for a number of years, but it became clear that Atget had no future as an actor. In 1897 he tried his hand as a painter and was again unsuccessful. He started to photograph the next year at the age of 40.

Atget took no portraits per se, but he did photograph street characters: peddlers, garbage collectors, road workers, and so on. His friend Andre Calmette wrote that Atget set out to photograph "everything in Paris and its environs that was artistic and picturesque."

In recording the daily appearance of a rapidly changing Paris, Atget made methodical surveys of the old quarters of the city. He was to make over 10,000 photographs of this immense subject in the next 30 years using obsolete equipment: an 18 X 24 cm bellows camera, rectilinear lenses, a wooden tripod, and a few plate holders.

Atget operated a small commercial photography business called "Documents pour artistes" and sold his carefully cataloged images to stage designers, art craftsmen, interior decorators, and painters (Braque, Derain, and Utrillo, among others), and to official bodies such as the Bibliothéque Nationale, the Bibliothéque de la ville de Paris, the Musèe des Arts Decoratifs, and the Musèe Carnavalet. However, few of his clients appreciated his artistry.

The quiet, even understated, appreciation of a subject's beauty in Atget's work has led many to consider him naive, a primitive. In truth, his work is marked by a purity of vision, a refusal of painterly rhetoric, and a deceptive simplicity.

One of Atget's earliest admirers was the young Ansel Adams, who wrote in 1931: "The charm of Atget lies not in the mastery of the plates and papers of his time, nor in the quaintness of costume, architecture and humanity as revealed in his pictures, but in his equitable and intimate point of view. . . . His work is a simple revelation of the simplest aspects of his environment. There is no superimposed symbolic motive, no tortured application of design, no intellectual ax to grind. The Atget prints are direct and emotionally clean records of a rare and subtle perception, and represent perhaps the earliest expression of true photographic art."

In 1920 Atget sold 2500 negatives relating to the history of Paris, a large portion of the work he had been accumulating for two decades, to the Caisse National des Monuments Historiques. He described these photographs as "artistic documents of fine sixteenth- to nineteenth-century architecture in all the ancient streets of old Paris. . . historical and curious houses, fine facades and doors, panellings, door-knockers, old fountains, period stairs (wood and wrought iron), and interiors of all the churches in Paris." With the help of the considerable sum he received for this body of work, Atget was able to devote more of his time to photographing with increased dedication and historical awareness those subjects to which he felt closest. Many of his most beautiful images were made during his last years.

In 1926 Atget's neighbor Man Ray published (without credit) a few of Atget's photographs in the magazine La revolution surrealíste. This marked the beginning of the important surrealist appreciation of his work. Berenice Abbott, a student of Man Ray's, was impressed by Atget's photographs in 1925, and has been responsible for rescuing his work from obscurity and preserving his prints and negatives, which she acquired upon his death in 1927. She has written: "He will be remembered as an urbanist historian, a genuine romanticist, a lover of Paris, a Balzac of the camera, from whose work we can weave a large tapestry of French civilization."

Atget's work was included in the important modernist exhibition "Film und Foto" in Stuttgart in 1929. The first book of his images was published in 1931. The Abbott Collection is now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Atget was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum in 1969 and of a series of retrospectives there in the early 1980s.

Ansel Adams,
American, 1902-1984
Text from The Encyclopedia of Photography (1984)

Throughout his long and prolific career, Ansel Adams created a body of work which has come to exemplify not only the purist approach to the medium, but to many people the definitive pictorial statement on the American western landscape. He was also strongly associated with a visionary sense of the redemptive beauty of wilderness and the importance of its preservation. The prestige and popularity of his work has been enhanced by the extraordinary technical perfection of his photography and his insistence on absolute control of the photographic processes.

Born in San Francisco, Adams manifested an early interest in music and the piano, an interest which he initially hoped to develop into a professional career. In 1916 he took his first photographs of the Yosemite Valley, an experience of such intensity that he was to view it as a lifelong inspiration. He studied photography with a photofinisher, producing early work influenced by the then prevalent pictorialist style. Each summer he returned to Yosemite where he developed an interest in conservation. These trips involved exploration, climbing and photography, and by 1920 he had formed an association with the Sierra Club. In 1927 his first portfolio was published, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras. In 1928 he married Virginia Best and began to work as an official photographer for the Sierra Club. His decision to devote his life to photography was influenced by his strong response to the straight photography of Paul Strand, whom he met in 1930. Adams's first important one-man show was held in 1931 at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, and in the same year his work was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution. The following year Adams and several other California-based photographers, notably Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, founded Group f/64. For Adams and Weston especially, the f/64 philosophy embodied an approach to perfect realization of photographic vision through technically flawless prints. Despite this, Adams never decried experimentation as such, and he himself used a variety of large-format and miniature cameras.

After meeting with Alfred Stieglitz in 1933, he began a gallery in San Francisco, the Ansel Adams Gallery. The first of his books dealing with the mastery of photographic technique, Making a Photograph, was published in 1935. Meanwhile, Adams had impressed Stieglitz so much that an important one-man exhibition of his work was shown at An American Place in 1936.

During the following two years Adams moved into the Yosemite Valley and made trips throughout the Southwest with Weston, Georgia O'Keeffe, and David McAlpin. His photographs accompanied the 1938 publication of Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. Having met Beaumont and Nancy Newhall in New York in 1939, the following year Adams, along with McAlpin, assisted in the foundation of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). With the arrival of World War II, Adams went to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a photomuralist for the Department of the Interior. During this time he began to develop a codification of his approach to exposure, processing, and printing - the zone system. In effect, this system aimed at previsualization of the final print from a given set of conditions. Work from a wartime photo essay on the plight of interned Japanese-Americans was exhibited at MOMA in 1944 under the title Born Free and Equal. During 1944-1945, Adams lectured and taught courses in photography at the museum. This teaching was followed by the establishment of one of the first departments of photography at the California School of Fine Arts (later the San Francisco Art Institute) in 1946.

Following his award of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1948 to photograph national park locations and monuments, there were five productive years of important photographic work. The first of numerous portfolios, Portfolio 1: In Memory of Alfred Stieglitz, was issued in 1948, and in the same year he began to publish technical volumes in the Basic Photo Series. Throughout 1950 he made trips to Hawaii, Alaska, and Maine, and in that year Portfolio 2: The National Parks and Monuments was issued.

In 1953 he collaborated with Dorothea Lange on a Life commission for a photo essay on the Mormons in Utah, and in 1955 he began a photography workshop in Yosemite. Portfolio 3: Yosemite Valley was published by the Sierra Club in 1960.

In each of his images Adams aimed to modulate the range of tones from rich black to whitest white in order to achieve perfect photographic clarity. He also developed a knowledge of the techniques of photographic reproduction to assure that the quality of any reproduced work might approach as closely as possible the standard of the original print.

In 1962 Adams moved to Carmel, California, where in 1967 he was instrumental in the foundation of the Friends of Photography, of which he became president. A retrospective show of his work, 1923-1963, was exhibited at the de Young Museum, and in 1966 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In the late 1970s his prints sold to collectors for prices never equaled by a living American photographer. By that time Adams had given up active photography to devote himself to revising the Basic Photo Series, publishing books of his life's work, and preparing prints for a variety of exhibitions.

Arbus, Diane
American, 1923-1971
Text from The Encyclopedia of Photography (1984)

A pivotal figure in contemporary documentary photography, Diane Arbus produced a substantial body of work before her suicide in 1971. Her unrelentingly direct photographs of people who live on the edge of societal acceptance, as well as those photographs depicting supposedly "normal" people in a way that sharply outlines the cracks in their public masks, were controversial at the time of their creation and remain so today.

Arbus was born Diane Nemerox, to a wealthy family in New York City. Her father owned a fashionable Fifth Avenue department store. She was educated at the Ethical Culture School, a progressive institution. At age 18 she married Allan Arbus and began to express an interest in photography. Her father asked Diane and her husband to make advertising photographs for his store. The couple collaborated as photographers from then on, eventually producing fashion pictures for Harper's Bazaar.

Between 1955 and 1957 Arbus studied under Lisette Model. Model encouraged Arbus to concentrate on personal pictures and to further develop what Model recognized as a uniquely incisive documentary eye. Soon after Arbus began her studies with Lisette Model, she began to devote herself fully to documenting transvestites, twins, midgets, people on the streets and in their homes, and asylum inmates. Arbus's pictures are almost invariably confrontational: the subjects look directly at the camera and are sharply rendered, lit by direct flash or other frontal lighting. Her subjects appear to be perfectly willing, if not eager, to reveal themselves and their flaws to her lens.

She said of her pictures, "What I'm trying to describe is that it's impossible to get out of your skin into somebody else's.... That somebody else's tragedy is not the same as your own." And of her subjects who were physically unusual, she said, "Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. [These people] were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats."

Arbus's photographs drew immediate attention from the artistic community. She was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1963 and 1966 to continue her work. In 1967 her work was mounted in the New Documents show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, along with the work of two other influential, new photographers: Gary Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. For the most part, the exhibition received extremely good reviews.

In 1970 Arbus made a limited portfolio containing 10 photographs; by then she had established an international reputation as one of the pioneers of the "new" documentary style. Her work was often compared with that of August Sander, whose Men Without Masks expressed similar concerns, although in a seemingly less ruthless manner. In July 1971 Diane Arbus took her own life in Greenwich Village, New York. Her death brought even more attention to her name and photographs. In the following year Arbus became the first American photographer to be represented at the Venice Biennale. A major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1972, which traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, was viewed by over 7.25 million people. The next year, a Japanese retrospective traveled through Western Europe and the Western Pacific. The 1972 Aperture monograph Diane Arbus, now in its twelfth edition, has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Jerry N. Uelsmann
American, 1934-
Text from The Encyclopedia of Photography (1984)

Jerry Uelsmann has been a fantasist and explorer of the boundaries of the photographic medium for over 25 years. He has experimented with complex multiple prints, negative imagery, and other techniques in elaborating a personal mythology the elements of which include nudes, floating trees, clouds, reflections in bodies of water, details of plants; his work emphasizes the ambiguities of space and scale. He has been a prominent spokesman for "post-visualization" that is, "the willingness on the part of the photographer to revisualize the final image at any point in the entire photographic process."

Uelsmann was born in Detroit, Michigan, and developed an interest in photography as a high-school student. He graduated in the first four-year B.F.A. degree program in photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1957, and published his first image in Photography Annual of that year. Ralph Hattersley and Minor White were his major influences as teachers. Continuing his studies in audio-visual communications, art history, and design, he worked under Henry Holmes Smith at Indiana University, where he received a M.F.A. degree in 1960.

For the next four years Uelsmann was Instructor of Art at the University of Florida, Gainesville (where he has continued to teach) on a faculty which included Van Deren Coke. In 1964 Uelsmann was a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Society two years later.

Uelsmann's first one-man exhibition, of 103 photographs, was held at the Jacksonville Art Museum in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1963. The following year his first important portfolio of work appeared in Contemporary Photographer.

He began to use the darkroom as a "visual research lab" in 1965. In 1966 he was appointed Associate Professor of Art. A major one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City was mounted by John Szarkowski in 1967. Uelsmann was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for "Experiments in Multiple Printing Techniques in Photography" the same year. In 1968 he began an extensive lecture tour and printmaking demonstration at schools including the Rhode Island School of Design, MIT, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Aperture published a major essay by William E. Parker on his work at this time.

In 1969 Uelsmann was named Professor of Art and began teaching under the auspices of the Friends of Photography. He was cited for Special Recognition by the American Society of Magazine Photographers in 1970. Two years later he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1973, the year an entire issue of Aperture was devoted to his work with an essay by Peter Bunnell.

Uelsmann was appointed Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida in 1974. He has been the recipient of a Certificate of Merit from the Society of Publication Designers and a Certificate of Excellence from the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

In addition to the exhibitions mentioned, retrospectives of Uelsmann's work have been held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Witkin Gallery in New York City. In a 1981 report by American Photographer, Uelsmann's work was named one of the ten most collected in the country.

Features On Site
Art Museums
Featured Artist

Cunningham, Imogen
American, 1883-1976

Text from The Encyclopedia of Photography (1984)

Imogen Cunningham began photographing in 1901 after being inspired by the work of Gertrude Kaesebier. Born in Portland, Oregon, she graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a major in chemistry and went to work in the studio of Edward S. Curtis, where she learned the process of platinum printing.

In 1909 she continued her education in photographic chemistry at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden. After meeting with Kaesebier and Alfred Stieglitz in New York on her return trip from Europe, Cunningham settled in Seattle around 1910 and opened a portrait studio which was an immediate success.

In 1915 she married the etcher Roi Partridge. Her best known work, floral studies from her garden, was produced during the 1920s and 1930s.

One of the pioneers of modernism on the West Coast, Cunningham was among the founding members of Group f/64. She excelled in portraiture and after her picture of the dancer Martha Graham was published in Vanity Fair in

1932, she worked for the publication in New York and Hollywood until 1934. Her worked gained greater recognition after 1950; she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1970 and in the decade that followed had exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At age 92 she began her last project, After Ninety, a book of portraits cut short by her death in 1976. Through her last interview, Cunningham advocated self-education in photography.

Images above in order of appearance:
Two Callas c. 1929
Untitled (Two Sisters) 1928
Agave Design 2 c. 1920
The Unmade Bed 1957
The Dream 1910
Magnolia Blossom 1925
Alfred Stieglitz, --(Photographer) 1934
All above prints © The Imogen Cunningham Trust.
Featured Artist

Brandt, Bill
English, 1904-1983

Text from The Encyclopedia of Photography (1984)

Born in London of parents who were both partly of Russian descent, Bill Brandt spent his early life in Germany in delicate health. He left a Swiss tuberculosis sanitarium in 1929 to study with the surrealist Man Ray in Paris. Brandt worked closely with Man Ray in his studio for three months and continued to see him regularly for the next two years. He learned the value of experiment for its own sake and was profoundly influenced by the surrealist work of Man Ray and his circle.

After working freelance for Paris Magazine in 1930, Brandt returned to England where he photographed for magazines such as Lilliput, Harper's Bazaar, and News Chronicle for which he documented the conditions of England in the depths of the Depression. He photographed English middle- and upper-class life both before and during World War II, publishing The English at Home (1936), A Night in London (1938), and The Camera in London (1948). Working as a photojournalist on assignment, his photography was a singular and idiosyncratic mixture of straight reportage with a consistent, if subtle, streak of strangeness - the legacy of surrealism.

Brandt lost interest in reportage toward the end of the war, and the expressionism and surrealism of his work was accordingly strengthened. He worked extensively with the nude, often with both perspective and figural distortions. Also important in his work were portraits of writers and artists, and ominous brooding landscapes and seashores of the British Isles. Highly respected for the intensity and power of his images, Brandt is considered one of the preeminent photographers to have emerged in England. Writing of his work, which runs clearly counter to the dominant post-war style of straight, unmanipulated photography, Brandt has said, "Photography is still a very new medium and everything must be tried and dare... photography has no rules. It is not a sport. It is the result which counts, no matter how it is achieved."

All above prints © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd

Miners Returning to Daylight, South Wales
Middle: Parlourmaid at a window in Kensington, c. 1936
Bottom: Window in Osborn Street 1931-35
Featured Artist

Eugene Atget
Ambassade d'Autriche, 57 rue de Varenne 1905

Eugene Atget
91, rue de Turenne

Eugene Atget
Au Tambour,
63 quai de la Tournelle 1908

Eugene Atget
Marchand abat-jours

Eugene Atget
Joueur d'orgue

Eugene Atget

Eugene Atget
Featured Artist

Ansel Adams
Bridal Veil Fall,
Yosemite Valley
c. 1927

Ansel Adams
Nevada Fall,
Yosemite National Park
c. 1932

Ansel Adams
Clearing Winter Storm,
Yosemite National Park
c. 1937

Ansel Adams
Minarets, Evening Clouds, California
c. 1937

Ansel Adams
The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Ansel Adams
Central Park and Sky Scrapers, New York City
c. 1945

Ansel Adams
Lake MacDonald,
Glacier National Park

All prints ©The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.
Featured Artist

Diane Arbus
A Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, N.Y. 1970

Diane Arbus
Masked woman in a wheelchair, Pa.1970.

Diane Arbus
Untitled (7)

Diane Arbus
Identical twins, Roselle, N.J. 1967.

Diane Arbus
Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C. 1967.

Diane Arbus
A young Brooklyn family going for a Sunday outing, N.Y.C. 1966.

All prints © The Estate of Diane Arbus.
Featured Artist

Jerry Uelsmann
Symbolic Mutation

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann

All prints ©
Jerry Uelsmann


Copyright © 2007 Rideau Valley Artists Website.
All rights reserved. Revised: July 02, 2007 .