Photography is an art form that came into existence in the mid-nineteenth century. Traditionally, it was based upon the recording of light on a photo-sensitive emulsion. But recently, digital technology has replaced the photo-chemical one, transforming the nature of photography. From an artistic point of view, photography was able to reproduce reality in a realistic manner and thus occasioned a crisis in traditional painting. The images you look at in this unit should thus not only be compared to each other, but also to the paintings in previous units in order to understand the distinctive nature of photography as an artistic medium.

Start: Photography Exploration


Select a piece from below to pick up where you left off.

1. What features of this photographic portrait stand out for you? 2. Does this photograph contain an expression of the photographer’s attitude towards its subject? 3. What does the photograph convey about the person portrayed in it? 4. How does learning that the person in the photograph is the photographer’s wife change your understanding of it if at all?      1. What elements of this photograph stand out for you? 2. Do you think this photograph is beautiful? 3. What attitude do you think the photographer has towards nature? 4. How does finding out that the intense colors in this photograph are due to toxic chemicals that have been dumped onto the land?      1. Is this photograph realistic? 2. How do you think it was made? 3. What is the significance of the fact that this photograph is composed of two different images? 4. Is this photograph a trick? 5. Does it convey something specific about the sitter?


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