U3AC Photo Forum 3 – History of Photography

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

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