Maxime Du Camp and Travel Photography

IMPERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY Maxime Du Camp (1822-1894)  The Camera’s Vision Photography inherited the conventions of painting and these conventions are artificially organized into hierarchies that emphasize contents according to the subject matter. Other objects are...

Roger Fenton: Photographing Crimean War

ROGER FENTON IN THE CRIMEA The Beginnings of War Photography The Crimean War It would be interesting to create a history out of the importance of maps and the stories they tell. Take the map of Russia for example. The nation is huge but it is locked between the Arctic...

Roger Fenton and the Victorian Era

PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE VICTORIAN ERA Roger Fenton (1819-1869) Royal Patronage and Photography By the middle of the nineteenth century, the dominate power in the world was Great Britain, a pair of small islands off the coast of continental Europe. Thanks to its powerful...

The Insurgency of Independent Publishing

THE NEW AVANT-GARDE: RETURN TO CHANGE presented by Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette to the College Art Association, New York, New York Saturday, February 12, 2011  A hundred and forty years ago, the art world in Paris faced a self-imposed crisis—or to be more...

Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) Part Two

PHOTOGRAPHING WATER AND SKY  Jean-Baptiste-Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) Whether he wanted to be or not, Gustave Le Gray was a child of his time, deeply engaged in creating a national heritage for France through his photographic practice. After the French Revolution,...

Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) Part One

PHOTOGRAPHING THE FOREST OF FONTAINEBLEAU Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) “Watch the horizon, watch the horizon. . . that’s Le Gray.” Sam Wagstaff, 1987 Gustave Le Gray lived what is called a “slipping down life.” At the beginning of his...

Mission Héliographique, Part Two

PRESERVING THE PAST  Mission Héliographique: The Project Part Two The invention and development of photography straddled a transition period in both French and English art. The fact that photography was developed in the gap between a declining Romanticism and a rising...

Mission Héliographique, Part One

PRESERVING THE PAST  Mission Héliographique: Origins Part One One of the major problems raised by the French Revolution was the status of the Catholic Church. With everything old swept away, including the monarchy, the nobility, and religion itself, the brave new...

The French, the Holocaust and Sarah’s Key (2011)

REMEMBERING SARAH The deportation of French Jews to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps raises questions similar to those asked of the Germans—how could such supposedly “civilized” peoples enter into a cold-blooded program of mass extermination?  Sarah’s...

Art and Technology in Paper Photography

PAPER: THE OTHER PHOTOGRAPHIC METHOD Artists and Photography The Directorial Mode From the beginning, paper and plate had vied for being the appropriate support for a photographic image. It was by a mere series of chances that the daguerreotype gained ascendancy over...

The Daguerrotype Revolution

THE DAGUERROTYPE AND PORTRAITURE Daguerreotypomania  “Readiness” for Photography, Part Two In 1989 the French photographer, Gisèle Freund wrote Photography and Society in which she attempted to explain the role of photography in mid-nineteenth century...

Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

WITH WERNER HERZOG  IN “THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS” Thirty thousand years ago.  This is when art began.  Chauvet Cave. This is where art began.  Southern France near the Pont d-arc formation.  This is where the first art was made.  This is the oldest and...

Hippolyte Bayard (1801-1887)

HIPPOLYTE  BAYARD (1801-1887) Another Inventor, Another Process The First Fake Photograph Among the many oddities of the history of the invention of photography is that not only was photography invented by so many people at the same time, but also that few of these...

Édouard Detaille, The End of a Tradition

The Panoramas: Rewriting History Representing history in France had always been fraught with difficulty for centuries. Not until the Third Republic (1870-1940) was it possible to report, write or make art without the threatening overhang of censorship, but, after the...

The Shock Doctrine (2008) by Naomi Klein

THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: THE RISE OF DISASTER CAPITALISM 2008 BY NAOMI KLEIN Naomi Klein is my hero.  She is beautiful and brilliant and can look at the sick world in which we are trying to exist, diagnose it, and give a prognosis for the future.  If you want to understand...

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) Part One

WILLIAM HENRY FOX TALBOT (1800-1877) Another “Inventor of Photography,” Same Time, Different Place Deep in the heart of Wiltshire, England, Lacock Abbey was established first as a refugee and retreat for Augustine nuns by Ela, the Countess of Salisbury, in...

Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851)

THE DAGUERREOTYPE Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) “I am burning with desire to see your experiments with nature,” Daguerre wrote to Niépce in 1828. The partnership of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Jacques Daguerre was an unlikely one. Niépce was a...

James Higginson’s Willful Blindness (2012)

SEEING AS WILLFUL BLINDNESS A film by James Higginson Unlike all other art forms invented out of modern technology, film has remained stubbornly entrenched in its pre-industrial heritage. Even though the technology of “moving images” allowed for a wide range of...

The Invention of Photography: Niépce, Part Two

JOSEPH NICÉPHORE NIÉPCE (1765-1833) The First Photograph and Its Rediscovery Part Two The Niépce Brothers, Joseph and Claude, were remarkable inventors. Or to put it another way, in the Napoléonic Era, there was little interest in industrial invention or development....

The Invention of Photography: Niépce, Part One

JOSEPH NICÉPHORE NIÉPCE (1765-1833) The First Photograph Part One Although there was considerable early activity in England at the turn of the eighteenth century in the direction of the science of photography, the experiments conducted by Thomas Wedgwood and his...

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