Today I presented ‘A (Partial) History of Photography in 20 Photographs’ at the Photo Forum. It was partial in both senses: it covered only a small part of the history; and it reflected my tastes and choices. I aimed to blend the history of issues, subjects, photographers and technology in a more or less chronological narrative. With one or two exceptions, I avoided using ‘first’ photographs of a genre and those that are so well-known as to be almost cliches. The 20 pictures are listed below.
1. First Photos: Fox Talbot, Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey, 1835. 2. War Photography: Roger Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1855. 3. The Urge to Travel: Samuel Bourne, Fatehpur Sikri, India, c. 1866. 4. Portraiture: Julia Margaret Cameron, Thomas Carlyle, 1867. 5. Searching for the Invisible: Eadweard Muybridge, Galloping Horse, 1884-5. 6. ‘You press the button, we do the rest’: anonymous photo from No 1 Kodak camera, introduced 1888. 7. Photography as Art: Clarence H. White, Lady in Black, 1908-2. 8. Campaigning Photography: Lewis W Hine, Child labour, 1909. 9. The Birth of Modernism: Paul Strand, Blind Woman, 1916. 10. Straight Photography: Edward Weston, Pepper No. 30, 1930.
11. Photojournalism: Erich Salomon, Hague Reparation Conference, 1930. 12. The New Deal – FSA: Dorothea Lange, On the Road, 1936. 13. Magnum: George Rodger, Latuka Tribe Rain Making Ceremony, Sudan, 1938. 14. The Decisive Moment: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Picnic on the Marne, 1938. 15. Conceptual Photography: Ed Ruscha, from Twenty Six Gasoline Stations, 1962. 16. New Documents: Diane Arbus, A Boy with Straw Hat and Flag About to March in a Pro-War Parade, New York, 1967. 17. Bye Bye Photography: Daido Moriyama, from Bye Bye Photography, 1972. 18. Colour: William Eggleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, c. 1972. 19. Digital: Ali Shallal al-Qaisi, one of the prisoners subjected to torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, c. 2003-4. 20. Artist-Photographer?: Gregory Crewdson, Woman at Sink, 2014.
Photos: 1 Fox Talbot; 11. Erich Salomon