History of Photography



Introduction  

History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991


Photographers' Dictionary










 

 



Chapter 12

 

 

BETTY HAHN
NAOMI SAVAGE
THOMAS BARROW
BEA NETTLES
ESTHER PARADA
MARTINA LOPEZ
NANCY BURSON
ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG
ANDY WARHOL
JOHN BALDESSARI
DAVID HOCKNEY
CHUCK CLOSE
RICHARD ESTES

 

 



PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1950:



MANIPULATIONS AND COLOR




 


Photography and the New Printing Technologies

The conjoining of the photographic image and mechanical printing processes was contemplated from the medium's inception; with the development of photo-gravure, Woodburytype, heliotype, and the process halftone plate, it became an accomplished ract. The later addition of silkscreen and, more recently, electronic reproduction methods, and the involvement since the 1920s of photographers in advertising and journalism, have made the reproduced photograph part of a vast network of utilitarian images taken for granted in urban industrial societies. It also should be recalled tliat printing photographs on materials other than sensitized paper was a common practice during the latter part of the 19th century, when camera images appeared on glass, porcelain, tile, leather, and fabric.

Since the 1960s, attitudes about printing have changed as photographers themselves have become involved in actually using mechanical and electronic processes rather than just allowing printing firms to effect such transformations. The interest in "process as medium," has led to images being printed on various unlikely materials and to procedures that are not intrinsic to photography. Today, print media are valued by creative photographers less as techniques to reproduce images than as means to produce unique objects that depend for their aesthetic interest primarily on the processes used. The new attitudes toward mechanical and electronic printing can also be viewed as an aspect of a new Pictorialism, in that the images are meant neither as utilitarian objects—that is, advertising or political posters—nor as windows into exterior or private realities, but primarily as unique aesthetic artifacts.

In some cases, the authors of these works also are making the point that valid camera expression need not be limited to the modernist canon of straight silver images. One example of this concept is Betty Hahn's work. This photographer translates a camera negative into a gumbichromate positive on muslin with embroidery added (pi. no. 795) or uses cyanotype in conjunction with handwork to suggest that mechanically produced images can be aesthetically linked with age-old handcraft and, further, that photographers might look to the history of their own medium for viable artistic techniques beyond just silver printing.

The case with which established mechanical printing processes can be manipulated is seen in work by the many photographers who have explored etching, engraving, lith-ography, and silkscreen. The capacity of photoetelling to retain an aura of reality while avoiding verisimilitude has long been recognized by both photographers and graphic artists. Naomi Savage, who works with this technique, is interested in the changes in coloration obtainable from printing intaglio plates in ink (pi. no. 796); she also considers the metal plate on which the photograph has been etched to be a relief image with an aesthetic character of its own. Starting in the 1960s, Thomas Barrow, Scott Hyde, William Larsen, Joan Lyons, Bea Nettles, Robert Rausch-enberg, Todd Walker, and Andy Warhol, among numbers of other Americans, were involved with photolithography and silkscreen—processes well suited to reproducing straight photographs, collages, and montages on a variety of materials. The resulting image can be additionally manipulated to achieve unusual effects by folding, stitching, quilting, or shaping it into irregular three-dimensional forms.

Barrow (pi. no. 797) and Nettles (pi. no. 798) employ fairly direct methods of offset lithography and dichromate printing. Rauschenberg (pi. no. 802) at times combines this process with photosilkscreen, adds pencil and brush marks, and laminates the results to handmade papers-—in effect, merging procedures traditionally associated with the fine and the mechanical arts. Using another approach, Benno Friedman and Scott Hyde have transformed their photographs through the application of mechanical printing techniques, which paradoxically result in one-of-a-kind images. By using lithographic processes and silkscreen, photographers also avoid the problems of instability that have bedeviled dye-color films and prints.

Images produced with electronic techniques—xerography, Kwikprinting, Verifaxing, and, eventually, computer-generated laser printing—have become possible with more modern replicative technologies. While the personal computer is the most easily used, all of these methods have been more available to photographers than offset lithography, in that they do not require access to printing plants or to the etching and lithography presses in artists' studios. Though no paint or ink obtruded on the surface, the dot pattern of the older electronic copy prints, whether in black and white or color, acted like the facture in painting, introducing an element that proclaimed the distance between reality and the image. More advanced electronic copying technology has eradicated this characteristic so that laser-duplicated prints can be indistinguishable from photographic silver prints.
 

795. BETTY HAHN. Road and Rainbow, 1971.
Gum bichromate on cotton with stitching.

796. NAOMI SAVAGE. Pressed Flower, 1969-80.
Photo/intaglio with pastel

797. THOMAS BARROW. Films, 1978.
Photolithographic print. Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

798. BEA NETTLES. Tomato Fantasy,1976.
Kwikprint. Internarnational Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, X.Y.


Digital Imaging

Photography's ability to document events and to pro-mote the material goods of the industrial era has been expedited by the perfection of special electronic cameras, computers, scanners, and laser printers. By the end of the 1980s, digital imaging (sec A Short Technical History, Part III) had emerged as a transformative technology, welcomed in the fields of product advertising, cinema, journalism, and the medical and physical sciences. Moreover, the computer has attracted artists who have recognized its worth as a storehouse of images; almost any image, whether photographic or hand-drawn, in black and white or in color, from virtually any public source, can be scanned, digitally combined and recombined with itself and others, and printed on papers or fabrics of various textures.

In advertising and filmmaking, digital techniques have meant that elements from different times and places can be put together and multiplied within a picture, that irrelevant parts can be removed, that almost infinite numbers of colors and shapes arc available and can be ordered and reordered. This restructuring of reality takes place with greater speed than the older methods of photographic special effects could ever make possible. Feeding the public's constant hunger for novelty, both advertising and cinema have promoted this improved method of achieving special effects and have encountered little negative reaction to it. The use of digital imagery in journalism, however, has been more problematic because viewers expect news images to be factual and unmanipulated. Of course, the idea that photographs of newsworthy events have ever been purely objective has been discredited by contemporary commentators, who have pointed out that since the camera image translates a three-dimensional real world into a two-dimensional arrangement of tonalities, its relationship to reality is inevitably subject to interpretation and distortion. Objectivity is undercut even more because photojournalists and editors have particular points of view that govern their production and use of camera images.

Digitizing is certainly not the first technique used to falsity- news photographs. Back in 1871, for example, a photograph purporting to show Communards killing Dominican priests (pi. no. 206) was later found to have been faked. However, in the past, montaging and retouching were slow and expensive skills, whereas the current ways of confounding truth by digital manipulation are immeasurably more efficient and hence more tempting. Immediately after digital imaging became possible, reputable journals such as National Geographic discovered the ease of being able to reposition elements within a photograph; in a 1982 cover picture of the pyramids of Giza, one was moved closer to another simply to lit a vertical rather than a horizontal format. Fiddling with images can have more serious consequences, as attested by the outcry that greeted the digital darkening of black football celebrity and murder suspect O. J. Simpson on a 1994 Time magazine cover. Tabloid magazines routinely append heads to bodies not their own or add figures and objects to make their pictures more enticing. For those critics who believe that journalism is rarely truthful anyway, the digital altering of news images poses little increased threat, but others recognize that the fictions made possible through this technology will require ever more sophisticated scrutiny by viewers determined to distinguish falsehood from truth in the news.

Artist-photographers have found the expressive possibilities (as opposed to its commercial applications) of digital imaging appealing because it facilitates an array of manipulations. Montage, which has long been favored by camera artists, is accomplished more easily with a computer, which may have in its memory many choices of imagery and which affords great flexibility in dealing with tonality, color, and sharpness. In A Thousand Centuries (pi. no. 799), Esther Parada created a montage to present an alternative view of American history, using scanned and digitally produced images and inkjet printing. Consisting of large panels and site-specific installations, this and similar works by Parada combine portraits with other visual and written documents to challenge commonly held perceptions about historical events in the United States and abroad. Others who use computerized montage to comment on political and cultural matters include the British photographer Roshini Kcmpadoo and the Japanese-American photographer Osamu James Nakagawa. Kempadoo combines representations of foreign currency and everyday social life to deplore the role of foreign investors in underdeveloped regions. Nakagawa subverts one's view of ordinary rural or urban scenes by inserting into them temporally unrelated images of events or objects—a Ku Klux Klan meeting or the McDonald's logo, for example.

The synthetic reality created by special software pro-grams enables Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill (collaborators who call themselves Manual) to address ecological issues. Their three-dimensional installations of large-scale, digitally produced works combine photographic images of nature with geometric forms suggestive of technology's intrusion into Eden. Others use the new techniques to make visible less-political agendas. The gestures and expressions of family members, as caught in old snapshots, are reassembled and placed in fabricated landscapes by Martina Lopez (pi. no. 800) to create a dreamlike personal history. Nancy Burson (working at times with David Kramlieh) generates facial images of nonexistent individuals by scan-ning several photographic portraits and combining their individual features into one face. For some of her images she has merged portraits of children with craniofacial problems; in another, she combined a human face with the eyes of a doll in order to demonstrate that the unexpected connection of real and unreal can be whimsical in effect (pi. no. 801).

Whether pictures that are digitally produced by scanning camera images into a computer should actually be called photographs remains an open question. Digital methods arc conceptually closer to creating a painting or a work of graphic art than to the conventional idea of taking a photograph. In dealing with representations of visible reality, painters have traditionally reorganized the scene and restructured elements of color and design to accord with their individual sensibilities and tastes. They are free to transform the image as they work to resolve coloristic, expressive, and spatial problems. The photo-graph is a frozen entity once it has been captured on film; to change the image substantially requires the same kind of manipulations associated with the graphic arts. Even handmade collages and darkroom montages ultimately become fixed entities, whereas digitally generated imagery is constantly mutable. Digital colors and forms can be shifted without limit to form new configurations; even after being printed they still exist in the computer as manipulable electronic impulses rather than as a fixed image.

Because anything that is scannable can be used to produce digital images, because potential material can be found almost anywhere, because that material can consist of original or reproduced photographs or works of graphic art obtained (and potentially reused without permission) from image banks through on-line services, digital imaging prompts concern about plagiarism and copyright protection. These issues, as well as the unreliable truthful-ness of seemingly authentic photographic representations, remain to be resolved. Whether digital images printed by laser beam will prove to be permanent or in need of special conservation methods is another issue requiring investigation.

Only the passage of time will reveal which digital productions are of lasting value and which are ephemeral. Over the past one hundred or so years the camera-generated image has assumed unparalleled importance—showing us, for example, both the grandeur and degradation of our land and the demeanor of our elected representatives. Photographs have influenced our tastes in food, clothing, decor, and celebrities. Digital technology seems unlikely to entirely replace traditional photography in the immediate future, although it will take over many of its tasks as filmless cameras and computer technologies become less expensive. Individual artists may still be engaged by the particularity of camera vision and by the silver- or platinum-based end product (even though thie materials needed for these already have become more difficult to find). Despite dire prophesies, painting did not "die" when many of its functions were taken over by the camera after 1839. It did, however, change forms and shed some functions, and photography may now go through a similar transformation. Indeed, relieving the medium of its commercial and decorative applications may eventually prove to be a boon rather than a misfortune.
 

799. ESTHER PARADA. A Thousand Centuries, 1992.
Inkjet print from digital image generated on a Macintosh computer, panel three of a three-panel installation.

800. MARTINA LOPEZ. Revolutions in Time, I, 1994.
Cibachrome print. Schneider Gallery, Chicago.

801. NANCY BURSON. Untitled, 1988.
Digitally produced from a gelatin silver negative shot from the computer screen.


Painting and Photography

Soon after it was invented, photography helped artists by making factual information available; before long, it was transforming the way artists treated the organization of form and space. In the 19th century, photographs made in the street with short-focal-length lenses revealed real life to be casually cluttered rather than hieratically composed of discrete elements. When the rectangular frame of the photographic plate sliced through figures, structures, and events, with little respect for the tidiness of classical composition, artists became aware of new ways to depict the life around them. Employing strategies that gave their work a naturalistic vivacity, they represented scenes from unusual angles, included portions of figures cut off by the edge of the canvas or paper, or reproduced events as though the participants had been surprised in the midst of activity. They also depicted objects and figures with less attention to their three-dimensionality, at times flattening and compressing them into shallow pictorial space. Like the Japanese woodblock prints that arrived in Europe starting in the 1860s, photographs exerted a telling influence on Realist and Impressionist painters.

During the early part of the 20th century, this cordial if not readily acknowledged relationship between photography and painting continued and actually became more intimate in some respects. Although some artists still adamantly denied the aesthetic potential of photography, American painters as precise in style as Charles Sheeler and as tonalistically oriented as Edward Steichcn worked in both media with equal sensitivity; ironically, the former eventually elevated painting, and the latter, photography, to a favored position. In Europe during the 1910s and '20s, Dadaists, Futurists, and Constructivists went even further, transforming scientific photographs such as the stop-motion studies by Etienne Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge into images expressive of the tempo and energy of modern life. Some artists combined graphic and photographic material in the same works and called for an end to art terminology and concepts based on traditional divisions among media.

Photography and painting assumed more distinctive identities during the mid-century flowering of Regionalism, Social Realism, and, later, Abstract Expressionism, but in the 1960s, the cross-fertilization resumed. As the most ubiquitous emblem of mass culture, photographs were embraced by those intent on repudiating the elite character of Abstract Expressionism, and so they found an obvious place in Pop art. To cite only a few examples, Larry Rivers and Robert Rauschenberg (pi. no. 802)—the latter a photographer of sensitivity as well as a painter—employed silkscreen techniques and incorporated snapshots and news photos along with an array of junk materials to suggest the gritty texture of contemporary urban life. James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol (pi. no. 803) in the United States and Richard Hamilton in England were among those who mined (and mimed) billboard and other photographic advertising imagery—in particular, publicity posters for mass-entertainment celebrities. The mixing of media has been exemplified more recently by Doug and Mike Starn's assemblages, which encompass camera images, reproductions of art, musical scores, and written texts embedded in blocks or sheets of acrylic. Usually of considerable size, many of these works deal with mass-produced goods—wearable, edible, and cultural—which not only exist in great quantities but have had their images widely replicated in the popular media.

Camera images have also been regarded by painters as found objects, to be assembled as testaments to individual taste or to a sense of irony—contemporary analogs of Marcel Duchamp's "Readymades." Photographs have sup-plied John Baldessari (pi. no. 804) in the United States and Joseph Beuys in Germany with the means to investigate the meaning of art itself. The sometimes banal, sometimes bizarre conjunctions of objects and events in Baldessari's work attest to his interest in the photograph not as an aesthetic or descriptive object but as a means of exploring art as "the product of a process of selection."

Artists wishing to avoid the convention of representing a single point of view and a single moment in time also have turned to photography. David Hockney makes use of an array of small rectangular color prints, taken over a period of time and from different vantage points, to create a large work (pi. no. 805) that repudiates the frozen moment characteristic of conventional paintings (and photographs). In Self-Portrait/Composite, Nine Parts (pi. no. 806), the disruptive joins of the color prints allow Chuck Close to avoid the illusionism characteristic of the photograph while still exploiting its ability to capture detailed facial expression. Rather than just using photographs to represent reality, these artists have employed them to transform their work into statements about the making of art.

Almost in tandem with Pop art, sharp-focus realism— sometimes called Photorealism—emerged as a distinctive style in American painting in the late 1960s. A sort of Precisionism revisited, it too derived its energizing ideas from the consumer goods and built environments so prominently featured in advertising. Photorealist painters, like their Precisionist forerunners in the 1920s (and in common with many photographers), usually are more interested in the abstract appearance of reality than in "realism" itself, finding the formal configurations of actuality "far more exciting than most abstract painting." The quest for the meticulous representation of the real world—in particular, the machine-made portion of reality—prompted this generation of painters to look to the camera for aid in translating three-dimensional space onto a flat surface. Indeed, many painters employed projection techniques that had been perfected earlier as methods for advertising illustration.

In Photorealist painting, the photograph is more than just a preparatory device or an aid to verisimilitude. Photographs help the painter objectify the subject, theoretically bypassing choice and subjective feelings and substituting a neutral facture for the artist's hand. These paintings mimic the visual appearance of photographs, portraying space in the specific manner of certain lens capabilities or from a vantage point peculiar to camera images. Synthesized at times from a number of camera images, as in the work of Richard Estes (pi. no. 807), such paintings paraphrase the high-gloss surface emulsions and dye-color properties of color photographs.

At the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, photographs also played a role in Conceptual art, which rose to prominence in the late 1960s, even though a connection between these least and most abstract visual forms seems curious. But, as Sol LeWitt noted, "Ideas [in art] ... are the chain in the development that may eventually find some form," and the photograph has become one of these forms. LeWitt's series of photographs of metal manhole covers and ventilator grids are emblems of the artist's desire to reveal underlying structures and systems rather than to create works with aesthetic, personal, or social con-tent. Photographs also play a role in productions that were meant to be created and then destroyed—Yves Klein's body art, Robert Smithson's earthworks, Christo's wrappings. Widiout the photographic records, these efforts would have no permanent form; indeed, one doubts that they would ever have been conceived if they could not have been photographed.

In sum, as difficult as it would be to imagine contemporary photography without taking into account developments in the graphic arts, it is even less possible to visualize contemporary art without its alter ego, the photograph. This affiliation is recognized in the marketplace by galleries that now handle photography, painting, and mixed-media creations as equals.

As the foregoing discussion has indicated, photography's potential has expanded radically in the past several decades. Besides the traditional two-dimensional, modest-sized photograph in shades of black and white—more often than not dealing with some facet of reality—the medium now embraces images in a variety of shapes, colors, and formats, variously intended to provide information, sell ideas or products, move people emotionally, make formal statements, and analyze political and cultural events. New technologies, new aesthetic theories, in concert with the enhanced role of the photograph as a marketable commodity, have influenced the way the medium is now being used and perceived. To show that the current expanded state of the medium is the result of a rich history in which photography flourished all the more for being so closely related to developments in technology, in the arts, and in the social sphere has been the purpose of this volume.

802. ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG. Kiesler, 1966.
Offset lithograph. Museum of Modern Art, New York; John B. Turner Fund.

803. ANDY WARHOL. Red Elvis, 1962.
Acrylic and silkscreen on linen. Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich.

804. JOHN BALDESSARI. Chimpanzees and Man with Arms in Arc, 1984.
Two gelatin silver prints. Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York.

805. DAVID HOCKNEY. Christopher Isherwood Talking to Bob Holman, Santa Monica, March 14,1983, 1983.
Collage of 98 Ektachrome prints. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Fla.

806. CHUCK CLOSE. Self-Poitrait/Composite, Nine Parts, 1979.
Polaroid photographs. Courtesy PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York.

807. RICHARD ESTES. Central Savings, 1975.
Oil on canvas. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo. Courtesy Allan Stone Gallery, New York.





A Short Technical History: Part III
 

DEVELOPMENTS SINCE 1910

 

Cameras and Equipment

 

In the early years of the 20th century, refinements in camera equipment were made in response to new demands for different kinds of images for advertising, documentation, and photojournalism. Two flexible-plate cameras, incorporating features from earlier cameras, were introduced around 1910—the Linhof (pi. no. 808), designed by Valentin Linhof in Germany, and the Speed Graphic (pi. no. 809), patented by William Folmer of the Folmer and Schwing Division of the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York; both remained relatively unchanged in design into the 1950s. The range of up-and-down, in-and-out movement of these cameras, which could be used with or without tripods, became integral to modern view and studio cameras.

Single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras were improved by being made smaller and lighter. Suggestions that such cam-eras be equipped with a pentaprism (a device for correcting the upside-down reversed image seen through the lens) in order to make eye-level viewing possible eventually led to the (East) German Zeiss-Ikon Company's introduction in 1949 of the Contax S—the first camera produced with a pentaprism built in (pi. no. 814.). All single-lens reflex cameras now have either a pentaprism or another method for normalizing the inverted image.

The modern twin-lens reflex camera evolved from an apparatus developed in the 19th century in which the image received in the upper viewing lens was reflected by a mirror onto a ground glass at the top of the camera in order to facilitate focusing. Several different models were introduced from 1889 on, but it was not until the appearance of the Rollcifkx (pi. no. 812) in 1928 that this type of camera achieved wide public acceptance.

A notable 20th-century advance in professional equipment was the invention of a small, lightweight 35mm roll-film camera. The Leica (pi. no. 813), introduced in 1925 (but based on a 1913 model devised by Oskar Barnack of the Leitz Company to make use of leftover movie film), became the first commercially successful instrument to offer instantaneous exposure, fast film advance, and a high level of image definition under a variety of lighting conditions. The earlier Ermanox (pi. no. 815), a small-plate camera with an exceptionally fast lens, had performed well in low-light situations, but the Leica was better suited to make repeated exposures without attracting the attention of the subject. This camera and the other 35mm instruments that quickly followed transformed photojournalism. The images they produced were sharp enough to be enlarged, and when reproduced, the multiple shots could be arranged in sequences that paralleled the action they recorded. Eventually, 35mm cameras inspired new aesthetic standards in personal photographic expression, too. later improvements to 35mm equipment included motor drives that automatically advance the film and pre-pare the shutter for the next exposure. Cameras used by professionals now are equipped with both manual and electronic controls for focus, flash, and film advance, and they can read ASA ratings from a barcode on the film. Built-in light meters measure light either from various spots or from the center, or they match the light to logarithms compiled from thousands of test pictures and built into the camera.

Camera equipment designed for amateur use also underwent significant improvement during the 20th century. The fixed-focus Eastman Brownie camera (pi. no. 818), introduced in 1900 as the cheapest and simplest camera on the market, was revised over the years until by 1963 it had evolved into the Kodak Instamatic (pi. no. 819)—a light-weight eye-level instrument that accepted film cassettes; by 1972 it had become small enough to be called a pocket Instamatic, accepting 16mm film. The most recent equipment for recreational use, known as point-and-shoot (P/S) cameras, makes use of the Advanced Photo System. Developed by a consortium of equipment and film manufacturers, the system features a redesigned camera with a drop-in cassette that does not have to be wound on a spool by the user and that can be removed and reinserted no matter how many exposures have been made. The film, which offers a limited choice of formats, contains a magnetic coating that records the data essential for proper commercial processing.

One outstanding event in the amateur field was the introduction in 1948 of a camera and film that made instant one-step photography possible. The Polaroid camera (pi. no. 811), designed by Edwin H. Land, was based on an idea virtually as old as photography itself—that of sensitizing and processing the film inside the camera. A number of 19th- and early-20th-century inventions, exemplified by the Dubroni (pi. no. 810), had incorporated this concept, but the Polaroid was the first instant-print camera, requiring in its original version just one minute after exposure to produce a monochromatic positive print by means of a sealed pod of developer-fixer and a complicated image receiver. Because this system also provided a simple way to make test shots to previsualize the composition, lighting, and decor in advertising and fashion work, Polaroid film was adapted for use in professional studio and field cameras. There now exists a wide range of instant-print professional Polaroid films, including Polacolor, which was introduced in 1962 and ProVivid, introduced in 1995. The apparatus has been continually improved; the sx-70 system, introduced in 1972, was later supplanted by a 600 system that features automatic focus and electronic flash, with the batteries incorporated in the high-speed instant-color film pack.

One innovation in photographic technology was the use of standard color negative film in specially designed 35mm cameras to produce three-dimensional images in color that could be viewed in the hand without a special viewer. Another involved a camera and film system based on a disk (rather than a roll of film) that could be inserted in a camera the size of a cigarette box. Both developments, which were aimed at the mass photography market—where, it has been estimated, amateur photographers have taken over 10 billion pictures a year since 1980—had only limited success.

A development of great service to both amateur and professional photographers was that of eiectric flash illumination. Magnesium, in wire, ribbon, or powder form, had been ignited by several methods from the 1860s on (pi. no. 816), but most became obsolete after the introduction in 1925 of the flashbulb, invented in Germany by Dr. Paul Vierkotter. Encasing the magnesium wire in glass made artificial illumination safer and smoke free, and it produced less contrast. Foil-filled lamps appeared in 1929; like the wire bulbs, they were set off by batteries (pi. no. 817) and eventually could be automatically triggered by the exposure mechanism of the camera. After the second World War, flash synchronization became a built-in feature of virtually all cameras (pi. no. 819); a modern mini-version is the flash cube. After 1950, the development of dry-cell-battery-powered circuitry and transistors made possible even lighter units. High-speed electric flash (known since Talbot's experiments in 1852), with a flash duration of about 1/100,000 of a second, required laboratory facilities. It was available mainly for special projects such as those carried on by Ernst Mach in Czechoslovakia in 1887 and Harold Edgerton in the United States starting in 1940. Heavy-duty electric flash systems for studio use were introduced by Kodak in the 1940s and were followed by gradually lighter and more portable electronic flash (stroboscopic) equipment; a unit designed in 1959 by Edward Rolke Farber, an American newscameraman, was probably the first.
 

808. Linhof Camera. In 1910, the first model of the famous and versatile Linhof press and professional camera appeared. It had a full range of movements and adjustments.

 

 

809. Speed Graphic Camera. A favorite with American press photographers in the 1940s, Speed Graphic is here shown (in a later model) with a flash-gun, which is connected to an electromagnetic release on the between- the-lens shutter. The shutter thus opened as the flash-gun was fired.

 

 

810. Dubroni Camera. The Dubroni camera of 1864 took a collodion-coated plate, which was held firmly against the flat-ground edges (A) of a ceramic or glass container, forming the inside of the camera. The sensitizing silver nitrate solution was introduced through a hole in the top of the camera by means of a pipette (B) and was made to flow over the plate when the camera was tilted onto its back. After exposure had taken place, the sensitizing solution was sucked out of the camera and processing chemicals were introduced into it, again by using the pipette. A yellow glass (c) in the rear door allowed the progress of development to be inspected.

 

 

811. Polaroid Land Camera, The first instant-print camera was the Polaroid Land 95 camera of 1948. A large roll of print paper (A) and a smaller roll of negative paper (B), connected by a leader, fitted into the top and bottom of the camera back. By means of the leader, the negative paper and the print paper were brought together and drawn between a pair of rollers (c), which broke a pod of processing chemicals, carried on the print strip, and spread its contents evenly between the two strips. After one minute, the finished print could be removed from the camera through a flap in the back.

 

 

812. Rolleiflex Camera. The prin-ciple of the twin-lens reflex camera: Light, passing through the upper lens (A), is reflected from a mirror (B) onto a ground-glass focusing screen (c), which is viewed through a hood (D). The film (E) is exposed through the lower lens (F). The Rolleiflex camera of 1928 was the first of the modern twin-lens retlex cameras.

 

 

813. Leica Camera. The Leica camera of 1925: the film winding knob (A) also set the shutter, the six speeds of which were set on a dial (B). A direct-vision, optical viewfinder (c) was fitted near the film rewind knob (D). The noninterchangeable lens was set in a helically focused, telescoping mount.

 

 

814. Contax S Camera. The Contax S camera of 1949 was the first 35mm single-lens reflex camera to be equipped with a built-in pentaprism; it was set in the viewfinder housing. The camera's specification included a delayed-action shutter mechanism and screw-mounted, interchangeable lenses.

 

 

815. Ermanox Camera. The Ernemann Ermanox camera of 1924 carried its f/2 Ernostar lens in a helical focusing mount. A folding, optical frame viewfinder was fitted, and the focal plane shutter gave speeds from 1/20 to 1/1,000 second.

 

 

816. Ceramic Magnesium Lamp. A ceramic magnesium lamp, typical of the powder flash lamps made in the 1890s. A charge of magnesium powder was placed in the funnel (A), which was surrounded by a circular tray (B). When lit, the spirit-soaked cotton wool in this tray gave a circular flame. A rubber bulb (c) was squeezed to inflate a thin-wallcd rubber bag (D), connected to the lamp by a clamped (E) tube. When the clamp was released, the puff of air propelled the magnesium powder through the flame.

 

 

 

817. Burvin Synchronizer. The Burvin Synchronizer of 1934 was designed for miniature cameras, notably the Leica. It was fitted to the underside of the camera and was coupled to the shutter by means of a cable release. The synchronizer could be precisely adjusted so that the flash was fired when the shutter was fully open.

 

 

818. Eastman's Brownie Camera. The original Brownie camera of 1900 had the shutter release (A) and the film winding key (B) on the top; the film rolls (C) were placed vertically. To help in aiming the camera, V-lines (D) were marked on it. The first Brownie models had a push-on back (F.) with a red window (F), but an improved back, hinged at the bottom and with a sliding catch at the top, was soon introduced.

 

 

819. Kodak Instamatic Camera. The Kodak Instamatic cam-eras were introduced in 1963. They took a drop-in cartridge that greatly simplified the loading of the cameras. Like most of the Instamatic cameras, the model 100 had a built-in, pop-up flash gun, released by a button.

Materials and Processes

Photographic materials have undergone considerable refinement since the invention of the medium, but perhaps the most significant change has been the increase in the light sensitivity of film emulsions. It has been estimated that from the daguerreotype of 1839 to the materials of the late 1970s, the sensitivity of film in full sunlight at f/16 aperture increased 24 million times. Both black and white and color film differ in sensitivity according to the size of the silver halide crystals suspended in the gelatin emulsion. Black and white and color films are rated from slow (ASA/ISO 25) to fast (ASA/ISO IOOO or more), with the larger crystals in the faster film more sensitive to light, thereby enabling faster shutter speeds to be used in making the exposure. In the past, the larger crystals in high-speed film usually resulted in grainier and less tonally defined images (especially in enlargement), but in recent years both black and white and color positive and negative films have been vastly improved in terms of speed and resolution. Manufacturers have recently marketed films in which the final monochromatic image is formed by a different arrangement of silver halide crystals or by crystals to which dyed couplers have been added. Film is now available in a variety of formats, speeds, sensitivities, and contrasts designed to meet the differing needs of amateurs and professionals. For use in scientific documentation and for penetrating haze conditions, infrared film, sensitive to light that is not visible to the human eye, is being used.

For black and white prints, two basic kinds of paper are available: resin coated (RC) and fiber based. Both have a gelatin coating over the light-sensitive emulsion on a paper base, but the RC: papers carry extra plastic layers on the bottom and beneath the emulsion layer. Both come in different grades of contrast.

One very significant development in the 20th century has been the improvement of color. Following the invention of Autochrome palates (see A Short Technical Histoiy. Part II), a variety of color materials appeared (Dufay Dioptichrome, Fenske's Aurora, Szezepanik-Hollborn Veracolor, Whitfield's Paget Colour Plates, Dawson's Leto Colour Plates, and Agfacolor), all of which were based on additive-color principles. From the second decade of this century on, George Eastman and the Kodak Research Laboratory worked on color materials, exploring additive processes that would enable amateurs and snapshooters to obtain color images without mastering complex technicai skills. By 1925, as the demand for color grew, so did the efforts to find a practicable system based on subtractive principles, a search that was further stimulated by competition among commercial firms and the Hollywood film industry, which looked toward color as an inducement to moviegoers during the Great Depression. During the 1930s, this goal became achievable with the discovery of new and more stable sensitizing dyes.

The possibility of adapting subtractive color theory to the production of color film was suggested early in the century by Karl Schinzel of Austria and Rudolph Fischer of Germany. They envisaged the formation of a triple-layer emulsion containing dye-couplers in primary colors that would block out their complements, which was realized some 25 years later in Kodachrome, Invented by the American amateur chemists and musicians Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Marines in collaboration with Kodak Research Laboratory personnel, Kodachrome became the first tripack film to be released—first in 1935, as movie film, then as sheet film in 1938 and as a negative Kodacolor roll film in 1942. The German Agfa Company—which had introduced a color plate that rivaled Autochrome in 1916 and had been experimenting with tripack systems based on subtractive theory—in 1936 announced Agfacolor Neu, a three-layer film in which the dye couplers were incorporated in the layers and released during development; this enabled the film to be processed in individual darkrooms. An almost identical product was marketed in 1939 by Ansco, the American firm affiliated with Agfa. In 1946, Eastman Kodak marketed Ektachrome, a positive transparency film that could be processed in home darkrooms; shortly thereafter, the same firm introduced Ektacolor—a color negative film from which prints could be made. Today's color films are some 32 times faster than the early versions, and processing time has been reduced from hours to minutes.

Initially, Kodak color products were sent back to the company for processing and were returned to the customers in the form of positive transparencies rather than color prints. In consequence, the use of 35mm color film gave rise to renewed interest among amateurs in slides and slide projection during the late 1940s. Color positive films (transparencies) were preferred to color negative film by many professionals because they had a finer grain and were therefore sharper. The projection of color positives was no longer just an amateur pastime but became of interest to educational institutions and corporations, which found color slides and sophisticated multiple-imaging systems to be successful teaching and sales tools.

Starting with Louis Ducos du Hauron (see A Short Technical History, Part II), color prints were made by using a variant of the carbon process that is now called assembly printing. This procedure was transformed into ozo-brome—a monochromatic print—invented in 1905 by Thomas Manley in England, from which carbro (or trichrome carbro) evolved into a full-color print during the early 1920s and remained popular until World War II. The Eastman wash-off relief process, introduced in 1935, was similar to the carbro process except that greater control ensured that there were fewer variations from print to print. In 1946 Eastman introduced a substitute—the Kodak dye-transfer (or dye-imbibition) system—whereby three separation negatives were used to produce three gelatin-relief images that were dyed magenta, cyan, and yellow; eventually the three images were made directly from a tripack negative film by exposing it through filters. For the print, the three dyed reliefs were transferred in exact register to gelatin-coated paper.

At present, color negatives and positives are created by-one of two methods: the chromogenic system, in which dyes are added during the processing, and the dye-destruction (or dye-bleach) system, in which a complete set of dyes is present at the start and the ones not needed to form die image are subsequently removed by bleaching. The latter method, which evolved from experiments undertaken in Hungary in 1930 by Bela Gaspar, is basic to Cibachrome. Within the chromogenic system, two methods can be used: the dye-injection system mentioned above in connection with Kodachrome or the dye-incorporation method. In the latter—used in the manufacture of nearly all well-known color films and color printing papers—the chemicals that will form the dyes are included in each layer of the emulsion and are activated during processing.

 

Conservation

As greater numbers of serious photographers began to work in color during the 1970s, questions regarding the stability of the images became more pressing. Central to the problem is the fact that magenta, cyan, and yellow dyes change and fade at differing rates when exposed to regular light and to ultraviolet radiation. Also, color materials arc affected to an even greater degree than monochromatic silver crystals by humidity, heat, and chemicals in the environment. With both color and black and white images being collected by individuals and museums, increasing awareness of the potential problems in the conservation of photographic materials has prompted efforts by manufacturers to produce more stable products. Specialists in conservation have devised strategies to print, store, and display all types of photographs in ways that will minimize their deterioration. At the same time, interest in restoring works that have already deteriorated has grown. These developments reflect the fact that the photograph has become an artistic commodity with market value, but they also offer a promise that diverse images can be preserved, no matter what their original purpose may have been.

 

Holography

An entirely new idea in image-making, holography has been developed only within the last 45 years or so. A hologram (from the Greek holos—whole—and gramma— message) is a three-dimensional image that appears on a film or glass that has been coated with photographic emul-sion and exposed to laser light reflected from an object. In order to produce a hologram, the laser beam must be split into two parts by a beam splitter (partial mirror). A full mirror directs one beam to the object; the other, known as the reference beam, is directed by another mirror to the emulsion surface on which the image will be recorded. In the area where the light from the reference beam and the light from the object meet, they expose a pattern of lines (interference fringes) that will form the image after the emulsion is photographically processed. The hologram becomes visible when it is illuminated from the same direction as the original reference beam. There are two main kinds of holograms: transmission and reflection. Transmission holograms are illuminated from either laser or white light sources located behind or below the emulsion surface; reflection holograms become visible when white light bounces off the surface of the emulsion.

Holography is based on experiments in the reconstruction of optical phenomena conducted by the Hungarian scientist Dennis Gabor in 1947 (for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1971) and on the invention in i960 of a new device for manipulating light known as the laser. In 1962, Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnicks in the United States and Yuri Denisyuk in the Soviet Union independently invented techniques for recording on photographic plates the image of objects illuminated by laser beams. Improvements in holographic techniques have included methods of making frill-color holograms discovered by Stephen Benton and Denisyuk. Holograms have found a practical use in the scanning of earth formations and the locating of buried archaeological remains, in advertising, in scientific and optical measurements, and in the production of three-dimensional models of industrial objects, buildings, and human cells. They are also being investigated as a method of efficient data storage and for the creation of three-dimensional film and television images. In addition, artists in the United States, Eastern Europe, Japan, England, and Australia have experimented with holograms as a means of personal artistic expression.

 

Digital Image-Making

Electronic imaging is a fairly recent development that has already had significant effects, especially on the reproduction of photographs. Made possible initially by the invention in 1945 of electronic analog computers, the ability to produce and enhance images using this instrument received considerable impetus from the photographic

explorations of space carried out by NASA in the 1960s. At first, computers enhanced photographs taken in space by satellites by eliminating imperfections or by transforming multiple views from varying perspectives into three-dimen¬sional images. Eventually, digital cameras, which convert light rays into electronic signals, were used to picture the most distant reaches of the solar system. Also in the 1960s, electronic imaging made its way into specialized fields such as archaeology, the medical sciences, and military surveil¬lance; light, measured by sensors, can produce images of buried cities, brain cells, DNA structure, or hidden military installations.

Around 1979, computers became digital—that is, equipped to process information about light and shade by dividing the picture plane into a microscopic grid and by designating the tone and color of each tiny cell, or pixel, by a number. Stored in the computer's memory, pixels can be viewed on a screen, altered if desired, and printed or transmitted. Image resolution and detail are determined by the density of pixels—higher resolution and greater detail require a larger number of pixels, which in turn requires more computer memory. The communications industries used computers to size images, to create color separations, and to facilitate the manipulation and combination of photographs. With the introduction of the microchip in the early 1980s, smaller and less expensive personal computers became available to a larger public-— artists and photographers among them. By the mid-1990s, the expansion of color capabilities allowed users a choice of over 16 million colors.

The digitally encoded image is sometimes referred to as "electronic photography" or "still video," but its physical characteristics are different from those of traditional photographic representations or video images. In both of those media, the changes in tonality are continuous—that is, the tones blend together in uninterrupted gradations from black to white.

Enlarging a photographic image captured on a silver-based negative produces more information than can be seen in small format, but the larger the image the fuzzier its forms become. Because their number is finite, enlarging a grid of pixels will not yield more information, but color and tone will remain unchanged (although the grid itselt will become visible and distort the image). Furthermore, quality is lost when traditional photographs are copied (a copy negative, for example, is always less sharp than the original negative), whereas digital copies are indistinguishable from each other.

Digital images can be produced in several ways: by using a digital camera, which has light sensors that record information about outside reality on a magnetic disk or memory card; by a scanner, which digitizes the information from a flat visual field, such as a painting or photograph; or by a software graphics system, which is used in a computer to select and organize pixels into original arrangements of color and form. The digital camera (or a special back designed to be attached to a conventional camera), which was introduced to the public in 1990, is analogous to a conventional camera only in that it records images of external reality. Increasingly, photojournalists use this apparatus to capture their images on disk or memory cards and then transmit them over the telephone wires to an editor with a computer. This process eliminates the need for chemical processing in darkrooms, and specially designed software facilitates once-laborious tasks such as enlarging, dodging, burning in, toning, and retouching. (Digital images can nonetheless simulate the effects of different film emulsions, developers, and toners.)

In the past, photo editors routinely cropped and edited the prints submitted by photographers, usually with their knowledge and acquiescence. Now, however, photojournalists who must file picture stories by transmitting electronic images directly to photo editors for processing and editing in the computer have, by and large, given up individual control over their images used in print. Because there is no "original" hard copy in the traditional sense—that is, no negative—photographers have little recourse when images are manipulated without their con-sent or knowledge. These and other issues raised—both for photojournalists and for viewers—by the increasing use of digitized images in the news media have prompted a number of books on the subject, among the first being Fred Ritchin's In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography (1990).

A scanner, which reads images and texts and translates them into pixels, permits the creation of digital archives of artwork, photographs, and documents. Because this mate-rial can be housed on disks and printed out only as needed, space is saved and wear and tear on the original work is reduced. The usefulness of such archives has been enhanced by the emergence of on-iine services, which give subscribers with computers access to a variety of indepth records—among them library catalogs and picture collections. Scanners also enable artists to appropriate images from any printed image as well as from on-line services in order to transform them for their own expressive purposes.

Various software programs, tailored for both the professional and the amateur, facilitate the creation of images in the computer. "Imaging software" refers to programs, which can be used in conjunction with digitally captured or scanned images, that allow the operator to mask out elements, to make color separations, and to produce montages and special effects. There are, in addition, "paint programs" that an operator can use to create entirely new shapes, forms, and colors, as well as combine these elements with scanned images. Three-dimensional images can also be generated, and they can be made to rotate so that all their surfaces are visible. This idea first emerged in the late 1960s; later research into position-sensing techniques has made possible a more sophisticated approach known as "virtual reality. Architects, for example, can now "walk" through the digital representation of the spaces of proposed buildings, and doctors can see a three-dimensional image of any body part as if looking through the skin or skull.

Computer-generated images can also be printed as hard copy. Depending on the kind of printing equipment used (dot matrix, inkjet, laser), the image can be printed either on film for processing as a traditional silver print or on paper, fabric, or other materials. Print quality is directly related to the quality of the printer. As a consequence, printing highly resolved digitized images is usually done by specialized laboratories.

As has been the case with conventional photographic technology throughout its 150 plus years of existence, the equipment and methods of electronic imaging will continue to change—in all probability', with greater rapidity than was true of photography based on silver processes. Whatever these changes entail, there can be little doubt that in the future a great many of the tasks previously undertaken by conventional photography will be effected through the use of a computer.

 

 

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