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Light writing

the word photography literally means "light-writing," although a more accurate description would be "light-drawing."

Camera obscura

a dark room (or box) with a small hole in one side, through which an inverted image of the view outside is projected onto the opposite wall, screen, or mirror. The image is then traced. This forerunner of the modern camera was a tool for recording an optically accurate image.

development of camera

As a fixed room, or even as a portable room, the camera obscura was too large and cumbersome to be widely used. In the seventeenth century, when inventors realized that the person tracing the image did not have to be inside, the camera obscura evolved into a portable dark box. a lens was placed in the small hole to improve image clarity. Later an angled mirror was added to right the inverted image, enabling anyone, skilled or unskilled, to trace the projected pictures with pen or pencil.

Louis Daguerre

The invention of photography had to wait until scientists discovered that certain chemicals were sensitive to light. In 1826 the first vague photographic image was made by Joseph Nicephore Niepce. He recorded and fixed on a sheet of pewter an image he made by exposing the sensitized metal plate to light for eight hours. Daguerre further perfected Niepce's process and produced some of the first satisfactory photographs, known as daguerreotypes. He made them by exposing iodized silver plates in the presence of mercury vapor; images were fixed on the plate with a mineral salt solution

Alfred Stieglitz

An early crusader in the art photography movement. Opened a photography gallery in NYC in 1905. Founded an influential magazine, Camera Work, which published photography along with essays about modern art and culture. His own photography was almost always "straight"-produced with no technical manipulation of the negative.

Ansel Adams

very often used his photographs to increase public awareness of the need for conservation of the natural environment. His Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park reflects the symphonic grandeur of nature's design. It renders the cathedral-like Yosemite Valley as an orchestration in black and white where stark rock mingles with soft mist. He viewed aspects of nature as symbols of spiritual life, capable of transcending the conflicts of society. In his majestic black-and-white photographs, nature becomes a timeless metaphor for spiritual harmony.

digital revolution

Near the end of the twentieth century, the chemical photographic negative began to go out of fashion under the impact of the new digital technology. Now most cameras do not use film; rather, the lens focuses info onto an array of sensors that translate the hue and intensity of light into digital files. These files can be manipulated in almost infinite ways, and reproduced endlessly. If a photo can be altered, then its reputation as a vehicle of truth is in danger, and the camera can indeed lie. And the reproducibility of images means that the specialness of a photograph is much reduced.

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