Photography was a burgeoning technology and was not seen as a form of art at the time. Painters in particular rebelled against photography as it captured a moment in a seemingly effortless way. What might have drawn artists to work in this medium? Why did they choose to pursue photography as an art when there were several more established and recognized art forms at the time? Select one of the pioneers of photography to focus on in responding to this question.
You will research the development of photography and the work of a pioneer photographer from the Smithsonian Database. You will create your own studio project using light and motion, and then write an essay about your project and how it relates to a contemporary photographer and the development of film.
Step 1: Research
Photographers such as Eadweard Muybridge, Ansel Adams, and Dorthea Lange and others active from the late 1800’s to the 1950’s played a crucial role in the advancement of still photography and photography as an artform. Research one photographer who lived and created during this pivotal period in time.
Step 2: Studio Work
After researching artists from the late 1800’s-1950, bring what you have learned and observed to your own camera. Experiment with one of the photographic devices available to you, including a digital camera, cell phone camera, or even a copy machine, create a photograph that contains some of the qualities you have observed in your research, while also developing your own style.
When you have achieved your desired photographic effect, copy and paste your photo into a document file. Title and date the photograph, and after your title, credit the photography pioneer that most influenced your photo.
For example, you may have been inspired to create a landscape after Ansel Adams, and you would title it: Mountain Landscape (inspired by Ansel Adams), Your Name, Date. Remember, that you are taking into account what you have just learned and researched, so images must be taken during the Module, please do not use an existing image from a previous photo session.
Step 3: Writing
In the document where you embedded your image, use short essay format to explain your subject matter and process an 800-word summary. Include a thesis statement in your introduction. Employ the vocabulary specific to photography, and include an assessment of your work based on the principles of design and elements of art. As you evaluate your final results, be sure to answer the following questions:
- Photography was a burgeoning technology and was not seen as a form of art at the time. Painters in particular rebelled against photography as it captured a moment in a seemingly effortless way. What might have drawn artists to work in this medium? Why did they choose to pursue photography as an art when there were several more established and recognized art forms at the time? Select one of the pioneers of photography to focus on in responding to this question.
- Describe their work. What did their work seek to capture or evoke? How did they use light, shadow, value, focus, and other elements to convey emotion and theme?
- Many of these pioneers of photography had to work against critics who did not consider photography to be a legitimate art form. From your research did your pioneer experience criticism? Why do you think photography was set apart from other forms of art?
- Describe your own image. Did you “capture” the image you hoped for?
- How did the work of a specific pioneer influence your process?
- Concluding your essay, state your understanding of how the media influenced your decisions, and likewise how your decisions influence the photo as a composition or concept.
Basic Information for All Essay Submissions:
Create a “Works Cited” section that lists your 3+ scholarly sources in MLA Style format at the end of your paper. Be sure you have properly cited any direct quotes you use in support of your own writing.