Great Moments in Photography By Melissa Shearer, Danielle Siedlecki and Eva Hirst
“Photography” was of greek origin, photos meaning “light” and graphein "to draw. There is mention of a camera of sorts back to ancient China. But the original pinhole camera dated back to the 4th and 5th century, then with the 6th century came the camera obscura, but it wasn’t until the 13 and 14th centuries when some of the chemicals used in the processing were discovered. Even then it took almost eight hours to develop one picture, and the image faded within hours. With all the great technical discoveries of the 19th century brought a more permanent, easier method of processing, and a new abstract for artists to use. Although it would take years of modifications and experimentation it was a new style of art, and it quickly became normal to find a camera in every household. It was the one way that one specific moment in time could be captured in an instant, or in real-time. It has been used by police, government and security forces for recording daily activities, and by amateurs trying to preserve a special moment in their lives. It has been invaluable to artists as well. A photograph could be taken of a scene or a person, and that photograph would be used to paint a portrait or tell a story. Journalists used them on assignments either to help tell their story or for verification of details. One of the most popular publications “National Geographic” has used photographs for years to bring everyday readers to different unique locations around the globe. People were taking pictures of everything and some had developed an “eye” for photography… PHOTOGRAPHY
Migrant Mother 1936 Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange was one of the many talented WPA photographers who recorded the history of the Depression across the United States. This is one of her most famous photographs that she captured; “Migrant Mother” 1936. This photo is showing a destitute mother in a migrant worker camp in California. While taking the photograph she shared her experience: “I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.” Dorothea Lange was born May 26, 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey. She was well known for her photography and being a photojournalist. Her photographs of the tragedy from the great depression was what she was best known for. Her name at birth was “Dorothea MargarettaNutzhorn”;her father had left the family when she was 12 so she dropped her middle name and used her mother’s maiden name. She contracted polio at the age of seven which left her with a weakened right leg and a permanent limp."It formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me and humiliated me. I've never gotten over it, and I am aware of the force and power of it.“ Lange said. She was educated in New York City for photography. In 1918 she moved to San Francisco to open her own portrait studio. She had two sons with the man she married in 1920; Maynard Dixon. When the great depression occurred she decided to photograph in the street rather than the studio. She divorced Dixon and had gotten remarried to a professor. From 1935 to 1939 she brought her photography to public attention. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her excellence in photography in 1941. In 1952, Lange co-founded the photographic magazine ’Aperature’. She passed away October 11, 1965. By: Melissa Shearer Dorothea Lange
Lunch atop a skyscraper (1932) Photographer: Charles C. EbbetsSource: allposters.com By Danielle Siedlecki
This historical photograph was taken on September 29, 1932 by Charles c. Ebbets, who at the time was the photographic director for the Rockefeller Center, under construction in New York. This and other photos taken during his tenure would later define his career. Charles Ebbets, originally from Alabama, started his career as a still photographer in Florida. He moved on to motion picture work, dabbled in acting and returned to his true passion of photography. In addition to photography he enjoyed adventurous jobs like, wing-walking, pilot, auto racer, wrestler, and a hunter. His work was published in the major newspapers including the New York Times and the Herald. In 1935 he returned to Florida where he focused on tourism in the state, documenting the Seminole Indians and the vast uninhibited land of the everglades. As the photographic director for the Rockefeller Center he captured numerous photos depicting workers in the construction of skyscrapers between 1920 and 1935. Officials hoped that by capturing the everyday lives of the workers in these dangerous situations onlookers would be put at ease over the safety concerns. This photo is a group of 11 workers sitting on a crossbeam taking their lunch break. The men sit, eating, reading, and talking amongst themselves on a beam on the 69th of 70 floors of the GE Building, hundreds of feet above the ground. The multi-storied buildings of bustling New York City sit far below them, and they barely seem to notice. You can see what appears to be smog or a haze hanging in the sky around them, almost confirming how high up they are. I have seen this photo several times over the years and it always makes me gasp and makes my stomach a little queasy! There are no hard hats, boots or safety harnesses to be seen. One little slip would most certainly be fatal! Charles Ebbets did a tremendous job of capturing the depth and detail of the scene. OSHA would have shut this job down in seconds! By Danielle Siedlecki Lunchtimeatop a Skyscraper
“Omaha Beach, Normandy, France”Robert Capa, 1944 This photo is from D-Day. It is said that this photograph raised photojournalistic stakes because Robert Capa risked his life for the photos he took that day. Robert Capa took four rolls of fill that day but only 11 exposures remain because his lab assistant was in too much of a hurry to meet the deadline for “Life” magazine and melted the film. This is also the reason why the photo looks out of focus.
Robert Capa was born on October 22nd, 1913 in Hungary with the name EndreErnoFriedmann • In 1934 Capa met GerdaPohorylle and they became a couple. Together that created new images for themselves; GerdaPohorylle became Gerda Taro and EndreErnoFriedmann became Robert Capa, a famous American photographer. • Capa was a combat photographer and photojournalist. He covered five different wars; the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. By: Eva Hirst Robert Capa