Until recently, few scholars devoted their attention to the field of photography. The first comprehensive histories of photography began to appear only in the 1940s, one hundred years after the medium was invented. As a consequence, countless images that documented people and events, captured the spirit of a time in history, or presented a talented artist's impression of the visual world have been lost or forgotten.
Bill Brandt's exhibition of portraits opened at the National Portrait Gallery just as the British Task Force headed full steam for the South Atlantic. For several days before the opening, posters announcing the exhibition appeared on the walls of the London Underground.
On the plane to Graz, where I was to speak at the photography symposium last October, I looked at Stella Musilin's book on Austria. She describes Austria's awkward shape as "a recumbent string bag with ill-assorted contents." A contour map confirms but cannot improve on her splendid phrase.
Throughout the month of February 1934, an itinerant photographer took nearly 500 pictures of professionals, businessmen, storekeepers, government employees, and laborers in Corpus Christi, Texas. Going door to door with his 5 x 7 glass plate camera and magnesium flash equipment, he photographed people in their work environment, singly or in groups.
The scene was wild, strange, and magnificent; a summer’s sun in the distance shone out with the steady gleam of frosted silver. Not a breath of wind was stirring, and the deep blue of an Arctic sky was reflected in the water so strangely flecked with indescribable icy forms, from dead white to glossy, glistening satin; from the deepest green to all the lightest shades; and from faint blue to deepest “lapis lazuli;” and again, as some lofty berg passed between us and the sun, its crest would be bordered with an orange-coloured halo.
Felix (also known as Felice) Beato set up his photographic studio in Yokohama, just eight or nine years after Commodore Matthew C. Perry led his legendary expedition to Japan in 1853. Though one of the most talented photographers to work in Japan, Beato was not the first: Perry had brought with him as part of his official party the daguerreotypist Eliphalet Brown, Jr., of Philadelphia.
Trained as a physicist and chemist in his native Germany, Hermann Wilhelm Vogel made many major technical contributions to the early history of photography, including several important discoveries that eventually led to the refinement of color photography.
The Arnold H. Crane Collection has been called "the largest," "the greatest," and even "the most idiosyncratic" collection of photographs in the world. Crane himself declines to comment on the first two adjectives, but he says his collection is idiosyncratic only in the sense that its contents could have been assembled by no one else.
In the small town of Morococha, fifteen thousand feet high in the Peruvian Andes, Sebastian Rodriguez worked as the local photographer from 1928 until his death in 1968. During those forty years, using an antiquated camera, he recorded the evolution of a mining camp of the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation.
Fran Antmann From 1979 to 1981 Fran Antmann lived in the Peruvian Andes, pursuing her own documentary photography and researching the life and work of photographer Sebastian Rodriguez with grants from the Ford Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Fulbright-Hayes Commission.