Delving Deeper into the History of Photography

Delving Deeper into the History of Photography

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source Poor, sweet Émile Nelligan, born in the same place as me, Montreal Canada. First published his poetry at the tender age of 16, was extremely successful until he went insane at age 20, the year this picture was taken. He lived to age 61 and never recovered.

Go to the library or search on the Internet and find a photograph from the 19th century (taken before 1900). Write a short “think piece” about this photograph. You are free to select any image you would like to write about, as long as the photograph was taken during the 19th century. Examine the photograph tell us in short what you think about the image in your own words.

I thought it would be difficult to find a picture that really spoke to me from this era, but I was entirely wrong. I found a wonderful website called My Daguerreo Type Boyfriend, which is funnily enough, a compilation of unique or attractive looking portraits of men from the 1800’s.

There were so many options to choose from but I finally found one that was truly intriguing. We are supposed to embed the assignment into a blog post, from a document, pdf or the like, I decided to use Indesign.

Here are the Runner up pictures, just in case you’re interested:

1

A picture from the collection of Sparrow Salvage. Two friends, seemingly brothers looking like they decided to have their picture taken together after a night on the town. Taken in 1890.

A picture from the collection of Sparrow Salvage. Two friends, seemingly brothers looking like they decided to have their picture taken together after a night on the town. Taken in 1890. Rough and tumble lads eh?

2

Portrait of unidentified man [between 1844 and 1860], by Mathew Brady’s studio

Portrait of unidentified man [between 1844 and 1860], by Mathew Brady’s studio 

source

I loved this one so much, I’ve looked at many pictures from this era over the past week and utilized such an amazing use of light. Lighting is something that is oft overlooked but is THE most fundamental aspects of the visual arts, let alone photography. Here amazing, rather sharp illumination is facing the model head-on, adding deep contrast and dynamics to his face, hair and clothing. Amazing. You could also cut diamond with those cheekbones.

3

Untitled-2

Source Self Portrait with Camera by Walter Bentley Woodbury, taken in 1857. (In 1864 Woodbury patented the Woodburytype process, a form of photomechanical gelatin reproduction that went on to become popular in book illustration in the latter part of the 19th century.)

I thought this was kind of a funny picture. It is a self portrait of the then photographer Walter Bentley Woodbury  that he sent to his mother. On the back he wrote ”The portrait I send has the date marked on it and in the future I shall always date them so that you can see if I improve in appearance or otherwise”.  Aww, talented AND has self deprecating humour.

But the winner was this one,

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source Unknown man, daguerreotype by Robert Cornelius, c. 1839

Why? Intense, those eyes are.

Assignment questions answered in Indesign:

LearningActivity

And the assignment which you can see in PDF format, embedded here:

Learning Activity

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