Rank #1: Photo History – Class 1 – Course Intro & Overview
In this first class session, we spend some time looking at some of the problems that the photo historian faces, including an introduction to the pioneering work of Daguerre and Fox Talbot.
Jan 17 2014
Rank #2: Photo History – Class 2 – History Survey Part 1
Class session #2 is the first part of a two-part overview of the history of photography; a sort of “condensed” history in order to get a sense of the medium’s “who, what, when and where.” This week, we cover from 1800 B.C. to 1888 A.D.
For more information about the podcast, visit this blog page.
Jan 25 2014
Rank #3: History of Photography Podcast 1 : Photo History 2.0
Welcome to the History of Photography Podcast 2.0!
Having retired from my college teaching job, I’m no longer teaching the photo history class, but I have lots of other irons in the fire and want to continue the podcast with some new topics and ideas.
A complete semester of the History of Photography class will still be available online, as well as some other resources.
Links for this episode:
Jan 08 2015
Rank #4: Photo History Summer School – May 23
Cornell Capa, the photojournalist and tireless advocate of humanistic photography died today, May 23, 2008. He was 90 years old. A great and committed photographer, Capa’s heartfelt images were often overshadowed by two other elements in his life. One was the photography of his brother, the pre-eminent war photographer Robert Capa. The other was the founding and early management of the International Center for Photography (ICP) in New York, considered by many to be one of the most important photographic resources in the world.
Photographs (below) by Cornell Capa – click to enlarge
May 24 2008
Rank #5: Photo History – Class 3 – History Survey Part 2
In this second part of a two-part survey, we continue our fast trip through the history of photography, attempting to get a handle on who did what, when they did it and how it happened. We start in around 1880 and finish up in the 1990s.
Jan 31 2014
Rank #6: History of Photography Podcast 6 : Looking at Photographs
John Szarkowski’s book Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art is one of the best ways to learn not only about the history of photography, but also about photography’s aesthetics as well. Szarkowski, the former Director of the Department of Photography at MOMA from 1962 to 1991, pairs 100 photographs with a brief and insightful essay. The combination of image and text causes the reader/viewer to go back and forth and as you look at each photograph repeatedly, you add to the richness of your own viewing.Looking at Photographs by John Szarkowski – Click to go to Amazon.com
Mar 09 2015
Rank #7: History of Photography Podcast 5 : Gordon Parks
Photographer Gordon Parks, born 1912 and died 2006, was one of the most important figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, race relations, poverty, civil rights and honest depictions of urban life, Parks’ work provides an amazing chronicle important aspects of American urban life in the last half of the 20th century.
Links for this episode:
- The Gordon Parks Foundation
- Books by Gordon Parks– on Amazon
- Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument – The New Orleans Museum of Art exhibition archive page
- Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument – A recap of the wonderful show at the New Orleans Museum of art about Parks’ essay Harlem Gang Leader
Feb 23 2015
Rank #8: History of Photography Podcast 2 : Lisette Model
Jan 13 2015
Rank #9: Photo History Summer School – May 25
In today’s May 25th edition of Photo History Summer School, we note the birth dates of the avant garde Cech photographer Jaroslav Rossler and the oddly surrealistic American photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard as well as the anniversary of the death of the preeminant war photographer Robert Capa.
Some images by Rossler, Meatyard and Capa:
May 26 2008
Rank #10: Photo History – Class 4 – Light and Likeness: Portrait Photography
The 4th class meeting starts a more conceptual approach to the medium’s history. We look at 19th, 20th and some 21st century portraits and see if we can draw some conclusions about what makes a good portrait photograph. We also see if we can draw some parallels with the words and ideas of the Transcendentalist thinkers and writers Emerson and Thoreau and see if they can help us illuminate what portraiture means.
Feb 07 2014
Rank #11: Photo History – Class 5 – Photography as Transport + On The Road
Photography as a form of transportation is the topic for class #5. We look at how the advent of wet-plate collodion technology spurred the advance of travel and landscape photography, with a special emphasis on photography of the American west. There is also a brief exploration of 20th century photographers who went “on the road” as well as a look at the way 21st Century technology like Google Earth, Gigapan and Photosynth are changing the way in which we are able to see the distant parts of the globe for ourselves.
Feb 14 2014
Rank #12: Photo History Summer School – May 30
Today’s summer school session is all about color.
On this date in 1904, The Parisian brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière presented their patented color photographic process, the Autochrome, to the French Academy of Sciences. The Autochrome was the first commercially feasible color photographic process; the first time photographers could reliably produce color images.
This is date is also the birthday of one of the great color photographers of the 20th century, Pete Turner. Turner, born in 1934 in Albany, New York, has had a long history of using color as subject. His photographs contain raw, punchy often startling color and have been like that since long before it was fashionable to do so.
Some Autochrome and Pete Turner images:
Some links for this session
May 31 2008
Rank #13: Photo History Summer School – June 8
In this summer school session, we explore two remarkable photographers; the Vietnamese photojournalist Nick Ut whose best-known image was created on this date and the Chinese pictorial master Don Hong-Oai, who died on this date in 2004.
Links for this session:
Jun 08 2008
Rank #14: Photo History Summer School – July 5
Powerful and horrific photographs of the effects of the Battle of Gettysburg by Timothy O’Sullivan and Alexander Gardner are the subject of today’s Photo History Summer School.
Click Images for a larger view
Above: Timothy O’Sullivan – A Harvest of Death – July, 1863
Above: Alexander Gardner – The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, July, 1863
Jul 05 2008
Rank #15: Photo History – Class 11 – Women in Photography
Apr 12 2014
Rank #16: History of Photography Podcast 3 : The Family of Man
When the exhibition The Family of Man opened in January of 1955, 60 years ago this month, visitors were greeted by more than 500 photographs and these words by the poet Carl Sandburg:
“People! Flung wide and far, born into toil, struggle, blood and dreams, among lovers, eaters, drinkers, workers, loafers, fighters, players, gamblers. Here are ironworkers, bridgemen, musicians, sandhogs, miners, builders of huts and skyscrapers, jungle hunters, landlords and the landless, the loved and the unloved, the lonely and the abandoned, the brutal and the compassionate-one big family hugging close to the ball of Earth for its life and being.”
Links for this episode:
- Family of Man Re-installation in Luxembourg
- Professor Fred Turner’s web page
- The Family of Man and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America – Fred Turner’s great essay on the exhibition (PDF)
- The Family of Man book on Amazon
Jan 26 2015
Rank #17: Photo History – Class 15 – Photograph as Document, Concept as Photograph
The 15th and final class session examines documentary and conceptual photography, looking at the motivation and rationale behind them. We also try to tie up the ideas of the course with some concluding remarks.
May 09 2014
Rank #18: History of Photography Podcast 4 : James Van Der Zee
Photographer James Van Der Zee was active from the 1920s through the late 1970s, working primarily in his native Harlem neighborhood in New York city. Through his elegant portraits and images of social, religious and athletic groups, he created an intimate narrative about his community, showing the world a part of America that was rarely seen.
Links for this episode:
- James Van Der Zee in the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
- The Studio Museum of Harlem is the custodian of a large archive of Van Der Zee’s work
- Van Der Zee’s funerary portraits
Feb 09 2015
Rank #19: Photo History Summer School – July 7
Alexander Gardner photographed the hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators on July 7, 1865. This image and a pair of Gardner’s portraits of two of the men who are about to be executed are the subjects of this Photo History Summer School session.
Click on images for larger views:
Above Left: Alexander Gardner – The “cracked glass” Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, February 1865
Above Center: Alexander Gardner – Portrait of Lincoln Conspirator David Herold
Above Right: Alexander Gardner – Portrait of Lincoln Conspirator Lewis Payne (AKA Lewis Powell – his original name)
Above: Alexander Gardner – The Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators, July 7, 1863
Jul 07 2008
Rank #20: Photo History – Class 10 – Cameras Big and Small
Mar 29 2014