Photography: A Brief History
Photography Defined • The word photography, comes from two ancient Greek words: “Photo” which means light, and “Graph” which means draw. • Thus the phrase “Drawing with Light” is used to describe photography • When a photograph is “made”, light is used to record a picture of the object or scene on a light-sensative surface. • The earliest photographs, were called ‘sun pictures’, because the sunlight was used to create the image. • Although “pictures” (in the drawn sense) have been around for centuries, with the invention of photography, a realistic image that would have taken hours to draw, could be produced in minutes or even seconds.
Today’s World.. • In today’s world, photography has become a powerful means of communication, and a mode of visual expression that has the impact on human life in many ways. • For example, a photograph holds the key to many memories that have taken place in each of our lives. (Ex: family pictures, wedding photos etc) • Most photos taken by the average person, are called snapshots, which is defined as ‘casual records to document personal events’ (The Digital Photography Book; Scott Kelby) • Photographs are used by newspapers, magazines, books and television to convey information and advertise products and services. If you look closely at a photograph through one of the mass media conglomerates, you will notice that for each message that the media puts out, the photograph represents almost human emotion or angst, and/or how we are “told” to see the image.
NicéphoreNiépce • NicéphoreNiépce is known for taking and producing the first photograph in 1838. The photo is sot from his office window, taken with a camera obscura, A darkened chamber in which the real image of an object is received through a small opening or lens and focused in natural color onto a facing surface rather than recorded on a film or plate.
Early Photos of People • sss Notice how these early images of people show no emotion? Why is that? What kind of camera would have been used?
And one of the most famous photographs ever….. The photo, shown above, was taken by the inventor of the Daguerreotype himself, Louis Daguerre, on the streets of Paris in 1838.
Daguerreotype…. • The image is a direct positive made in the camera on a silvered copper plate. The raw material for plates was called Sheffield plate, plating by fusion or cold-rolled cladding and was a standard hardware item produced by heating and rolling silver foil in contact with a copper support. The surface of a daguerreotype is like a mirror, with the image made directly on the silvered surface; it is very fragile and can be rubbed off with a finger, and the finished plate has to be angled so as to reflect some dark surface in order to view the image properly. Depending on the angle viewed, and the color of the surface reflected into it, the image can change from a positive to a negative.(The daguerreotype: nineteenth-century technology and modern science By M. Susan Barger, William Blaine White)
The Camera Itself…. • No matter how many features a camera has, it is essentially a lifeless piece of equipment. Until a person uses it. • It then becomes this amazing responsive tool, i.e an extension of the photographers eye and mind. • As a photographer, your duty is to create a picture by a process of selection. What do you include in your scene? What would you want to omit. Is it a close up, landscape, portrait, high angle, low angle shot, should it be blurred or a reflection? The ultimate decision is yours. You the photographer are the mastermind, and the camera is your tool. • Sometimes however, the decision process may take hours or even days. If you are looking for the perfect natural light to reflect off an object, you must wait patiently. Perfection, although wanted, can be painstakingly hard to finalize
What makes up a good Photograph? • There are 6 Elements of Design that make up a striking Photograph: • Line • Shape • Form • Texture • Color • Pattern
Elements: • Line: line is the strongest and most important and influential. Without line there can be no shape. Without shape there can be no form. Without form there can be no texture and there can be no pattern. Lines are powerful tools that can be used smartly to lead the viewers eyes towards the point of interest in a photograph, and alter the overall feeling and mood of an image. • Lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or curved. Lines can be short or tall, can be thick or thin. Lines can lead you away, or move you forward in an image. A line’s emotional effect on an image cannot be overlooked. They sometimes feel restful, soothing, rigid, active, guiding, or threatening. • Thin lines can be experienced by some as unstable, and by others as vulnerable. Thick lines can be experienced as rigid and dependant, or can be experienced as dominating or stern. Curved lines are often perceived as soft, soothing, settling, and relaxing. Jagged lines can be perceived as forceful, chaotic, sharp, and threatening.
Line… • Vertical lines in a photograph tend to convey different moods, ranging from power and strength, to growth. Vertical lines can include strands of hair, poles, trees, buildings, and a lot of other different objects that expand vertically rather than horizontally. • Horizontal lines in a photo tend to cast a feeling of restfulness, permanency, and stability. If you want to further accentuate the restful, stable feeling of a horizontal line in an image, a good way is to use horizontal framing rather than vertical. • Layers of multiple horizontal lines in an image can create drama and rhythm, and can become the main interest of the image all by themselves. Horizontal lines can include horizons, seas, laying people, street sides, and almost anything that expands horizontally. • Diagonal lines work well to guide the viewers’ attention towards the main subject of your photo. They can convey a sense of action and render photos as dynamic and interesting. Diagonal lines can be the shape of a path, a line of trees, a fence, river or any other component of an image.
Shape • The second most fundamental element of design is shape, because shape is the principal element of identification. The most important thing to keep in mind when shape is the essential element in an image is that it is best defined when the subject is frontlit or backlit. For that shape to be successfully identifiable, it needs to be in strong contrast with its surroundings so that it is detached from the clutter around it.
Form • Form is basically a three-dimensional shape, and is best accentuated by side lighting since it casts soft elegant shadows, and the difference between light and shadows gives a better illustration of the depth of an object and amplifies the sensual understanding of its meaning and message.
Texture • No design element is more capable of moving your deep emotions than texture. The challenge of seeing and capturing texture is mostly based on one element – light. Texture can be accentuated by the side light of early sunny mornings or early evenings, or by overhead light when the sun is vertical and high in the sky.
Pattern • Life is full of patterns. It is all part of our cosmic existence, for without patterns our lives would be utter chaos. • Most patterns we don’t recognize or overlook. It takes time to recognize pattern, but most shots we take have some sort of pattern to it. • The two types of patterning are called: • Emphasis: zoom in onto the pattern and fill the frame with it. Emphasized pattern can include faces amongst a crowd, a line of homogenous plants, bricks of a wall, etc • Breaking: an object that disrupts the continuous flow of a pattern. It can be an object that is in clear contrast with the rest of the objects; be it in shape, color, or even texture. You might need to handle your composition with extra care while trying to render a broken pattern, and the rule of thirds can come in handy in such situations
Color • Color is characterized by attributes such as value, hue, and saturation. Colors, and how they’re arranged, can either make or break a shot. Different colors can send out different messages, and they indeed have an important visual weight and impact on a photo. • Red, Blue and Yellow, being primary colors, are the most used and focused on colors • White space can also be attributed to the color scheme. Try to blend colors for a more vibrant picture.