Theory Of Photography Essay

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The theory of photography originated from the discovery of the camera obscura phenomenon – light that enters a darkened chamber through a small hole is projects an identical inverted image on the interior wall of the outside scene. The first recordings of scientists recognizing this concept was in the writings of Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384 – 322 BC).
The first models of the Camera Obscura were large chambers that could be entered by the artist. At first, this invention was recognized as an aid to artists who could trace the images to create a more realistic impression of the scene. The difficulty with the chamber was that it was not readily portable, and was therefore useless to an artist. This issue was solved when advancements were made in the seventeenth century when inventors developed a portable version of the optical device. Also, those using the instrument found that the image produced was inaccurate in that it defied the rules of perspective because it was formed by a single lens. Inventors discovered a way to correct this problem, as explained in the History of Photography:
“By combining two lenses ground to segments of arcs of different radii a reasonable flatness of field could be obtained. And by using lenses of different focal lengths, the angle of view could be made narrow for portraiture and wide of landscape work” (Newhall 9).
As the use of this tool became widely practiced among artists, experimenters began to realize the possibilities of the invention.
The idea that images formed by the Camera Obscura could be saved as permanent prints came to light in the 1790’s, when Thomas Wedgwood began experimenting with photo-sensitive silver salts. The discovery of light’s effect on certain chemicals was made b...

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...ive prints of Brady and his team amounted to over seven thousand. Contrary to Fenton’s romantic style, Brady’s photos told a much more graphic story, influencing Americans everywhere.
Other prominent photographers whose prints moved the public were Jacob August Riis (1849 – 1914) and Lewis W. Hine (1874 – 1940). At age twenty-one, Danish photographer, Riis, immigrated to the United States, where he experienced the impoverished side of New York City. Four years after arriving, Riis was given the position of police reporter. He longed for a social reform, and published a book describing the condition of the slums, illustrated with drawings that were based on his original photographs.
Lewis Hine photographed factories and children working in coalmines in an attempt to bring awareness to upper class, which lead to the downfall of child labor in America.

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