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Conventional Photography as Contemporary Art - Essay Example

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The essay analyzes the Snapshot photography's evolution and contemporary photography. With the introduction of photography in the mid nineteenth century, a new mode of expression in art emerged with it. The early photographers were artists and virtuosos in their own right. …
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Conventional Photography as Contemporary Art
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Download file to see previous pages The essay "Conventional Photography as Contemporary Art" discovers the Snapshot photography's evolution and contemporary photography. At this point in time, photography was a rare luxury – the rich and the famous and the wealthy could afford to hire professional photographers who would capture moments in time. One of the essential traits of such photography was its propriety. The photographs reflected photographic talent and an unwritten standard which was followed throughout the industry. For example, photographs dating back to this period often depict people either standing up straight or sitting down properly with a smile perched on their faces. Given that photography was both esoteric and expensive, it was treated as a rarity. Though it was undeniably art but it was more or less sacrosanct art that bowed to the doctrines of the commercial photographer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Everything had to be “picture perfect” for it to become piece of art and history through the lens. Only rarely can one find photographs from this era that are more spontaneous in nature. One of the essential elements that made photography popular was its instantaneous nature – the object of the picture did not have to pose in studios for eons in order to get the picture painted. Instead one could just stand till the flash of the camera assured you that you were part of history. his also meant that photography was able to capture the more instantaneous things in life such as a child crying. or someone laughing. However the early photographic traditions did not consider this mode of thinking about photography popular. Hence, the common man had to wait for George Eastman to appear with his Kodak #1 before things began to change. (Fineman, 2004) Kodak’s #1 was a pure marvel – anyone with a bug for photography could purchase a camera, click a few pictures and send it to Rochester, New York in order to get the pictures developed. The technological advances coupled with Kodak’s brilliant marketing strategy soon led to the rise of “shutterbug” or amateur photographers. Kodak’s marketing slogan clearly said: “You press the button, we do the rest.” The actual story was very similar too. Within ten years of Kodak’s introduction of the personal camera, some 1.5 million rolls of film had been sold to amateur photographers alone. This had quite a few implications but most notable of all it made everyone who could own a camera a photographer. (Ford & Steinorth, 1988) The Kodak Brownie set a new standard for simple amateur photography that was soon branded as “snapshot” photography. Snapshot as it was used was a pejorative term and indicated that a photograph was amateur. It could be because the camera was out of focus, the background was not well framed, the subject of the picture was acting how he would in normal life or simply because it was the work of a “snap shooter”. Although amateur photography had taken deep root but art based circles were quick to react to such changes and took snapshot photography as an offense to fine art. 3. Early Opposition to Snapshot Photography A variety of clubs consisting of amateur photographers in the early twentieth century took it as their duty to promote photography as an art and not as the work of anyone who could handle a camera. The more vocal of these organisations in the United States was the Photo-Secession that was founded in 1902 by Alfred Stieglitz who was a well ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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