Lecture 1-The Inventions of Photography

The Inventions of Photography lecture takes us through the evolution of early day practices, and the experiments that took place by the pioneers of the medium, in order to capture and perfect the first photographs. We looked at the timeline which moved relatively quickly as the race to produce the first photograph began, showing us a direct comparison to today and how it is now technology, rather than individuals that constantly improving on what went before. As the technology changed early on, it enabled practices to change opening photography up to the public in ways that had previously never been possible. From the very first photographic studios allowing the average man in the street to have his portrait taken, to work of Francis Frith and Anna Atkins who started to utilise photography to document the world in their fields of study respectively.

It also draws on the common misconception that the camera never lies. This was realised early on by Hippolyte Bayard who wished to show his displeasure at the authorities backing Daguerre’s system rather than his own. This closely relates to the way photography is used today in regards to image manipulation and retouching. A commonly debated subject in the way it divides opinion on its ethical uses, but despite what people may think it clearly isn’t a new issue, but in fact one that dates back from almost day one.

 

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Bayard, Self portrait as a drowned man (1840)

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