• Are there are similarities between 21st century image making and the history of photography?
• Are there are differences and how these have come about?
• Have we lost something in our quest for convenience and immediacy or was this always our goal?
• How, as artists and communicators through the image, can we reference or take inspiration from photography’s history?
Development of Photography exhibition:
My visit to the Bradford media museum was incredibly useful to my university study, because it showed the development of photography up to the present day in great detail. They had some great descriptions next to each camera to give a detailed explanation about how that object influenced the development of photography. All my notes were taken from the most useful of these descriptions.
The information in the museum gave the imprecision that photography was once incredibly rare, and a profession that was high in society. However, through time the developments made photography more accessible, and therefore regarded as a more common practice. This development lead to 1,000 million being spent on cameras in 2000, showing that nearly everyone had a camera to take ‘snap shots’, instead of spending money on a skilled practitioner. Therefore, even though the developments are successful in photography to a wider community, it showed that the impression of the professional photographer decreased, and also the quality of the photos taken. The move from film to digital wasn’t necessarily a change for better quality of photos, it just made photography more convenient for more people, with reduced costs on film. Even in 2013, the same quality of image on a high end digital single reflex camera can be taken with a film single reflex camera, because they have similar settings. But, the process of buying quality film, then developing the film and scanning it is high cost. Making the process harder to use in modern society, even though many professional photographers still use film and many universities teach students use film because they believe it is still a marketable process that produces great quality than digital.
Even though it can be argued that the development was counterproductive, it can be seen that the development to reach the SLR camera’s in the 1980’s and to reach the high-end DSLR camera’s in 2010’s was successful, and provided a great choice for the modern day photographer. The Bradford media museum showed me how expensive photography was in 1826 when Niepce took the first permanent image (heliograph) and the continual development to use of gelatine in 1871 proposed by Richard Leach Maddix, the excellent development George Eastman provided with much cheaper handheld cameras with rolls of film, mass produced in 1885. The Kodak company sped up the development of photography with their affordable Kodak Instamatic camera in 1963, which was funded by George Eastman’s development to develop photos as well as produce cameras. Therefore, providing firm foundations for company’s like Canon, Nikon and Pentax to continue to create quality cameras for professionals and amateurs who wish to create the best images with their equipment.
Therefore, the Bradford Media Museum provided the information that the development of photography through cameras and equipment was successful, but the development of photographic practices, and the perception of professional photographers has decreased because of the popularity of the medium in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
Copper Horses Exhibition
Chris Harrison’s photograph exhibition surprisingly hit great interest with me. After growing up in Jarrow, Harrison believed his dad was a deep sea diver with great mysterious adventures. He was in love with this idea for most his live, and when he found out he was in fact a precision engineer, he wasn’t disheartened because of their relationship.
The exhibition created artefacts of all his dads work objects to “instil a feeling of pride in the skill and creativity of ordinary people and in what they do for a living”. I did really enjoy the exhibition because the shots were all well considered in their presentation, adopting a vintage feel with the creased backdrop and the crisp focus on all the marks of each object.
The shots at the end of the exhibition of his dad by the sea were, on first impressions, unrelated and unnecessary in their numbers. But after thinking about it, they show a moment of thought, peace and a moment of remembrance. Having several photographs helped rather than hindered; because they captured time with the tide coming in with each image, conveying deep thought and respect for the world.
However, overall, there were far too many images for an exhibition, reducing the mystery which should play a pivotal part in the series. He captured sequences of the machines with dad used; there was no symmetry and too much of little. But I presented great ideas through their relationship and made me consider a lot more about the world we live in, that whatever job we do, there is still a lot of admiration and respect.