History of Photography - class notes

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History of Photography - class notes

Dez 26, 2023, 10:20 am

Course Number: 286

Tuesday and Thursday
01:00 PM - 02:50 PM
Berea College Campus Campus | Art Building | Room 211

This course presents an overview of the history of photography from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century through present day. We will examine a range of selected topics and theoretical concepts integral to the study of photography, including the different types of photography and photographic techniques; the impact of photography on European and American avant-garde art movements; how photography has been used as a tool during times of war, conflict, and civil rights struggles; the role of photography in popular culture and mass media; and the basic theoretical and philosophical frameworks related to understanding the indexical image.

Editado: Jan 8, 6:14 pm

Textbook is photography: A Cultural History

New, 5th edition costs $40 at Amazon, $85 at Barnes & Noble. I found a 4th edition for $24. All the copies with that ISBN on Abe show a stock photo for a physics book. Crossing my fingers.

Editado: Jan 10, 7:59 pm

Jan 11, 9:58 am

Ha! Dry run. I misremembered the time of the class and embarrassed myself by showing up at 10. It’s been the time slot for my previous classes.

Editado: Jan 11, 2:44 pm

I’m psyched! This class is going to be so much fun.

Notes to self:
Accidental Renaissance is a photo that inadvertently resembles a painting similar in composition, style, lighting, and/or subject to Renaissance-style art.


Editado: Jan 25, 4:33 pm

We’re going at a fast pace in class. Her lectures are accompanied by PowerPoint and she is adding them to Moodle so we can review. Lots of readings besides the textbook.
Today we were able to examine the college’s collection of daguerreotypes. All 11 of them, one for each of us. No touchie though.

Last week we spent one session making our own cyanotypes. Here’s mine:

Jan 25, 4:39 pm

I was curious to see whether the college library owns a copy of The Pencil of Nature. It does, in the Special Collections. I met Tim, the director of that collection.
Their copy is an oversize reprint, published in 1969. Nice binding and very heavy paper and cardstock. It felt as if it had never been cracked open. Tim provided me with wedge cushions and a weighted rope to help manage it. I felt like I was in a medieval monastery library. Basement location, hermetically sealed.

Editado: Jan 30, 11:16 am

Trying to finish a three page paper due today. Arg! I’ve still got most of the last page blank, and I have nothing more to say. I’ve stretched it past where it was supposed to go already.
Gonna let it sit while I have more tea.

Ha! Added more quotations to bolster my conclusions. Done.

Jan 30, 11:53 am

Does anyone have any tips for photography I got a camera recently for my birthday and have ideas on what to do but I can't keep my hands still long enough to take a clear and good looking picture so does anyone know any tips on how to keep my hands still?

Jan 30, 12:00 pm

>9 Rillfletcher: You might try asking in one of the photography groups:


This is not the place for that discussion.

Jan 31, 10:08 am

>10 2wonderY: sorry thanks

Jan 31, 10:26 am

>11 Rillfletcher: Since you’ve joined the group, I invite you to start your own reading thread. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the book you’ve added to your catalog. I think I might have sampled Ashfall a few years ago.

Jan 31, 2:22 pm

>12 2wonderY: I'm new here so I do not know how to start a thread or what to do in it exactly; so what am I supposed to do in a thread.

Jan 31, 2:57 pm

>13 Rillfletcher: You go to the group page:
and there’s a big blue button that says “start a new topic”
You can name it to identify it as yours. Check the other thread names to get an idea of how you want to phrase it.
And then just post about what you are reading and what you think about it.

It’s really handy to have a record of your reading history. Before internet, I used composition notebooks to keep track, record my opinions, save best quotes.
Here, you can invite your friends to follow along.
But do note the name of the group. We don’t want a bunch of people trampling through. There are other groups that like more traffic.
You can explore groups here:

Once you have found your niche, you can control the amount of threads you see in Talk.

Jan 31, 3:08 pm

Tuesday, January 30

Our assignment was to read five articles written from 1857 to 1901, all opinion pieces as to whether photography could be considered Art. Most of the opinions were negative. They all had fine art backgrounds and definitely looked down on the new technology while admitting it could be a valuable tool, or take some tasks (accurate recording) away from Art, as in relieving a burden.
In the paper, we were to choose one of the articles and write in depth. In class, we were assigned one of the writers randomly and represent that opinion in class. I was glad I had looked up all the rest at least in Wikipedia, so I knew to be vehement, to the point of pounding the table for Joseph Pennell.

Editado: Fev 1, 5:14 pm

Thursday, February 1

Photography in War
Mexican-American War
Crimean War
US Civil War
Tintypes, not as sturdy as you’d think. About 95% profit.
First cases of posing dead bodies, reenacting surgeries, planting more cannonballs for a more dramatic photo.

We visited the Special Collections at the Hutchins Library. Saw some very cool collections. Now I want to do a montage of impassible roads.

Oh, and I found a home for one of my discarded books - a 1932 photo picture book of Baby’s First Words.

Fev 4, 9:54 am

How Wide the Lens

concept for term paper. Show a portion of the photo first and then the entire photo

See The Family of Woman, pages 100, 114

Fev 6, 10:50 pm

Nature photographs

Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award winner https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-68215592

Editado: Fev 12, 12:20 pm

Tuesday, feb. 6

Finished discussion of war photography of the time. Hope we get back to it. Napalm Girl from the Vietnam War:

Gardener book meant to validate the Civil War, though text encouraged other means than war.
Timothy O’Sullivan A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, 1863

Wet plate colloidion process gives detailed images. Full size glass plate. Ten minute window to fix and develop plate.

George N. Barnard - destruction of Atlanta - official government views

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper showed POW prisoners.

Spirit photography - manipulated negatives

Sally Mann - 1990s - moody B&W photos of civil war battle sites.

Women behind & in front of the camera 19th century
- entry through science (botany) and family connections.

Lady Filmer - English socialite
Photo montage - weird, strange - found in family albums
Role of women - recording the household?

Lady Clementina Hawarden - raised 8 of 10 children birthed. Took up camera later

Julia Margaret Cameron - started at age 48 - experimental depth of field and light. Soft photos, mythical beings.

Gertrude Kasebier - professional US photographer
- wanted to capture her baby’s’ faces
-explored women as subjects
- her images remind me of Norman Rockwell

Catherine Weed Barnes Ward - great encourager of women to take on the career

Frances Benjamin Johnston
- portrait studio in DC
- architectural photography
- photojournalist
A Talent for Detail 779.092 J725t 1974

Fev 7, 9:45 am

>21 2wonderY: I would love to take that course.

Fev 8, 9:03 pm

Early female photographers and a sample of autochromes


Editado: Fev 10, 2:07 pm

The Walk to Paradise Garden

W. Eugene Smith

779 S663

770.92 W742w

770.92 S663zm

362.19 S663m 1975


Fev 13, 7:49 pm

>23 2wonderY: I enjoyed that immensely.

Editado: Fev 15, 12:49 pm

I managed to submit today’s assignment. It’s a proposal for the term research paper. I’m already reconsidering it.

Next assignment is to create an advertisement for a Kodak camera.
I’m collaborating with another student. She will dress as the Kodak Girl for some shots. Should be fun.





Editado: Fev 17, 9:13 pm

Ha! My research paper might be about capturing human postures.
And I just stumbled across this photographer:


Phillipe Halsman

Dance and Photography

793.302 E95d

Fev 18, 6:27 pm

>29 2wonderY: I like those.

Fev 22, 11:52 am

Reawakening the Kodak Girl

Editado: Fev 29, 8:30 pm

I’ve determined my term research paper will be on Pictorialism.

I just ran across a reference to 17th century “Claude glass” that transformed scenes to look like paintings by Claude Lorrain.
Must reference this fascinating tidbit.


Mar 1, 5:01 pm

>32 2wonderY: interesting bit of history.

Mar 3, 11:48 am

Rooting through basement boxes, I unearthed orphan portraits that I’ve picked up over the years when they were super cheap. I feel sorry for the family photos that have lost their families.
In the box, there are 13 stereoscope cards! I may gift them to the professor. She has her own viewer that she bought besides the one the Gallery owns. We enjoyed them in class one day.

Mar 4, 6:18 am

>36 2wonderY: what an exciting discovery!

Mar 4, 8:21 am

Yes! Part of the deal will be access to her viewer for an hour so I can enjoy them as intended.

Mar 8, 12:24 pm

The Green Door
Lois Mailou Jones

Mar 21, 8:11 pm

As I mentioned, I got to use the professor’s stereoscope to view the 13 cards I had randomly purchased at some point in time. The landscapes and buildings at a distance were not impressive. The people scenes were much more absorbing. Children posed at the bottom of the stairs, gypsies in their tent camp. The best two were:
- a meadow scene of an adult female and a crowd of children posed around a flower bedecked horse. The best part was how each of the flower stems still growing from the ground, stood out individually.
- a German beer garden; a square filled with tables and chairs and with strings of paper lantern lights sweeping from pole to pole. Every line of those elements was crisp and stood proud.

She returned our midterms. I think mine was okay. No grade, but several good! V. good! and one Perfect!

Mar 25, 10:03 am

Ulrich F. Keller, ‘The Myth of Art Photography: a Sociological Analysis’, History of Photography, Volume 8, No. 4, October-December 1984, pp. 249-75

Editado: Mar 30, 9:16 am

Investigate Meryl McMaster

Thanks tardis

Editado: Mar 31, 10:15 pm

A discussion of the film Shooting the Past as well as mentioning other films related in theme.


Original review in Variety:


Abr 2, 6:43 am

>44 2wonderY: passed on the first link to my son, the English major/Film minor grad. I'm sure he'll appreciate the discussion, if he isn't already aware of the movie.

Editado: Abr 2, 8:16 am

>45 fuzzi: I lent the dvd to my professor and she finally admitted she doesn’t have a dvd player. I told her she could borrow one from the college library, but also went looking online. The first half, at least can be viewed online. I watched it again last evening. Somehow, the videographer gets his camera to caress the still photos.