History of Photography



Introduction
History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991

Photographers' Dictionary











 

 

"A WORLD HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY"

   

 

contents

 

1.  THE EARLY YEARS: TECHNOLOGY, VISION, USERS 1839-1875

 

2.  A PLENITUDE OF PORTRAITS 1839-1890

 

3.  DOCUMENTATION: LANDSCAPE AND ARCHITECTURE 1839-1890

 

4.  DOCUMENTATION OBJECTS AND EVENTS 1839-1890

 

5.  PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART: THE FIRST PHASE 1839-1890

 

6.  NEW TECHNOLOGY, NEW VISION, NEW USERS 1875-1925

 

7.  ART PHOTOGRAPHY ANOTHER ASPECT 1890-1920

 

8.  DOCUMENTATION: THE SOCIAL SCENE to 1946

 

9.  ART, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND MODERNISM 1920-1945

 

10.WORDS AND PICTURES: PHOTOGRAPHS IN PRINT MEDIA 1920-1980

 

11.PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1950: THE STRAIGHT IMAGE

 

12.PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1950: MANIPULATIONS AND COLOR

 



Chapter 2

 

 

ALEXANDER GARDNER (collection)
NAPOLEON SARONY
(collection)
HEINRICH TONNIES
AWIT SZUBERT
WILL SOULE

 

 




A PLENITUDE OF PORTRAITS

 

1839-1890


 


Carte-de-visite and Celebrity Portraits

By the time collodion/albumen photographs had begun to displace daguerreotypes and ambrotypes in the United States, the Civil War had erupted, relegating portraiture to a secondary place in the minds of many photographers. Brady, whose Washington studio had been opened in 1858 to take advantage of the concentration of political figures in the Capital, turned his attention to war reportage (to be discussed in Chapter 4), but continued to make portraits. In addition, Lincoln, his family, the Cabinet members and the Army generals all sat for other well-known portraitists, among them Alexander Gardner, a former manager of Brady's Washington gallery who took what may be the last likeness of the President in April, 1865, shortly before his assassination (pi. no. 68) .

In the period after the Civil War, besides cartes and cabinet-size images (approximately 4 x 5 1/2 inches, mounted on a slightly bigger card), larger formats called Promenade, Boudoir, and Imperial Panel were introduced to appeal to the newly rich bourgeoisie that had emerged. Fashionable portrait studios in large cities, among them Fredericks, Gurney, Falk and Kurtz in New York, Gutckunst in Philadelphia, and Bachrach in Baltimore, served as pacesetters in terms of pose, decor, lighting, and the manner of presenting the finished image. As in Europe, there was a demand for images of theatrical and entertainment personalities that was satisfied in the main by the New York studios of Napoleon Sarony and his competitor Jose Mora. A prominent lithographer before the War, Sarony made over 40,000 negatives of celebrities, some of whom were paid extravagantly for the sitting. The eclectic decor visible in his images of Sarah Bernhardt (pi. no. 66) and strongman Eugene Sandow (pi. no. 67) necessitated a large collection of fusty props and led to a reference to his studio as a "dumping ground .. . for unsaleable idols, tattered tapestry and indigent crocodiles."
 

68. ALEXANDER GARDNER. Abraham Lincoln, April, 1865.
Albumen print. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
 

Alexander Gardner (1821 – 1882)    (see collection)

Alexander Gardner was an American photographer. He is best known for his photographs of the American Civil War and his portraits of American President Abraham Lincoln.
Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1821. He became an apprentice silversmith jeweler at the age of fourteen. Gardner had a Calvinist upbringing and was influenced by the work of Robert Owen, Welsh socialist and father of the cooperative movement. By adulthood he desired to create a cooperative in the United States that would incorporate socialist values. In 1850, Gardner and others purchased land near Monona, Iowa, for this purpose, but Gardner never lived there, choosing to return to Scotland to raise more money. He stayed there until 1856, becoming owner and editor of the Glasgow Sentinel in 1851. Visiting The Great Exhibition in 1851 in Hyde Park, London, he saw the photography of American Mathew Brady, and thus began his interest in the subject.
Gardner and his family moved to the United States in 1856. Finding that many friends and family members at the cooperative he had helped to form were dead or dying of tuberculosis, he stayed in New York. He initiated contact with Brady and came to work for him, eventually managing Brady's Washington, D.C., gallery.
Unfortunately, the most famous of Gardner's work has been proven to be a fake. In 1961, Frederic Ray of the Civil War Times magazine compared several of Gardner's photos showing Confederate snipers and realized that the same body has been photographed in multiple locations. Apparently, Gardner was not satisfied with the subject matter as it was presented to him and dragged the body around to create his own version of reality. Ray's analysis was expanded on by the author William Frassanito in 1975.
Abraham Lincoln became an American President in the November, 1860 election, and along with his appointment came the threat of war. Gardner, being in Washington, was well-positioned for these events, and his popularity rose as a portrait photographer, capturing the visages of soldiers leaving for war.
Brady had had the idea to photograph the Civil War. Gardner's relationship with Allan Pinkerton (who was head of an intelligence operation that would become the Secret Service) was the key to communicating Brady's ideas to Lincoln. Pinkerton recommended Gardner for the position of chief photographer under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Topographical Engineers. Following that short appointment, Gardner became a staff photographer under General George B. McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac. At this point, Gardner's management of Brady's gallery ended. The honorary rank of captain was bestowed upon Gardner, and he photographed the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, developing photos in his traveling darkroom.
Gardner worked for the photographer Mathew Brady from 1856 to 1862. According to a New York Times review, Gardner has often had his work misattributed to Brady, and despite his considerable output, historians have tended to give Gardner less than full recognition for his documentation of the Civil War.
Lincoln dismissed McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac in November 1862, and Gardner’s role as chief army photographer diminished. About this time, Gardner ended his working relationship with Brady, probably in part because of Brady's practice of attributing his employees' work as "Photographed by Brady". That winter, Gardner followed General Ambrose Burnside, photographing the Battle of Fredericksburg. Next, he followed General Joseph Hooker. In May 1863, Gardner and his brother James opened their own studio in Washington, D.C, hiring many of Brady's former staff. Gardner photographed the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) and the Siege of Petersburg (June 1864–April 1865) during this time.
He published a two-volume work: Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War in 1866. Each volume contained 50 hand-mounted original prints. Not all photographs were Gardner's; he credited the negative producer and the positive print printer. As the employer, Gardner owned the work produced, like any modern day studio. The sketchbook contained work by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, James F. Gibson, John Reekie, William R. Pywell, James Gardner (his brother), John Wood, George N. Barnard, David Knox and David Woodbury among others. A century later, photographic analysis suggested that Gardner had manipulated the setting of at least one of his Civil War photos by moving a soldier's corpse and weapon into more dramatic positions.
Among his photographs of Abraham Lincoln were the last to be taken of the President, four days before his assassination. He also documented Lincoln's funeral, and photographed the conspirators involved (with John Wilkes Booth) in Lincoln's assassination. Gardner was the only photographer allowed at their execution by hanging, photographs of which would later be translated into woodcuts for publication in Harper's Weekly.
Gardner was commissioned to photograph Native Americans who came to Washington to discuss treaties; and he surveyed the proposed route of the Kansas Pacific railroad to the Pacific Ocean. Many of his photos were stereoscopic. After 1871, Gardner gave up photography and helped to found an insurance company. Gardner stayed in Washington until his death.


ALEXANDER GARDNER.
Middle bridge over Antietam Creek, September 1862

 


ALEXANDER GARDNER. Lincoln and John Alexander McClernand, visiting the Antietam battlefield, 1862

 


ALEXANDER GARDNER. Execution of conspirators to Lincoln's assassination (July 7, 1865)

 


ALEXANDER GARDNER.
Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Gettysburg , 1863

 


ALEXANDER GARDNER.
Many Horses, a Teton Lakota, photographed in 1872

 

66. NAPOLEON SARONY. Sarah Bernhardt, c. 1880.
Albumen print.
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

67. NAPOLEON SARONY. Eugene Sandow with a Leopard Skin
(Posing as the Farnese Hercules), c. 1893. Albumen print.
Harvard Theatre Collection, Cambridge, Mass.

 

Napoleon Sarony   (see collection)

(1821 – 1896) was an American lithographer and photographer. He was a highly popular and prolific portrait photographer, most known for his portraits of the stars of late 19th century American theater.
Sarony was born in Quebec in 1821 and moved to New York City around 1836. He worked as an illustrator for Currier and Ives before joining with James Major and starting his own lithography business, Sarony & Major, in 1843. In 1845, James Major was replaced by Henry B. Major in Sarony & Major and it continued operating under that name until 1853. From 1853 to 1857, the firm was known as Sarony and Company, and from 1857 to 1867, as Sarony, Major & Knapp. Sarony left the firm in 1867 and established a photography studio at 37 Union Square, during a time when celebrity portraiture was a popular fad. Photographers would pay their famous subjects to sit for them, and then retain full rights to sell the pictures. Sarony reportedly paid famed stage actress Sarah Bernhardt $1,500 to pose for his camera, the equivalent of more than $20,000 today.
One of Sarony's portraits of writer Oscar Wilde became the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case, Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony 111 U.S. 53(1884), in which the Court upheld the extension of copyright protection to photographs. Sarony sued Burrow-Giles after it used unauthorized lithographs of Oscar Wilde No. 18 in an advertisement, and won a judgment for $610 (the modern equivalent of just over $12,000) that was affirmed on appeal by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Sarony later photographed the Supreme Court itself, to celebrate the centennial of the federal judiciary in 1890.
Sarony was married twice. His first wife died in 1858; his second, Louie, reportedly shared his tendency towards eccentricity and preference for outlandish dress. She rented elaborate costumes that she wore during her daily afternoon walk through Washington Square, wearing them once before returning them.
 


NAPOLEON SARONY. Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra
1891

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Sarah Bernhardt Lounging

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Entertainer Lottie Collins
1892

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Lillie Langtry Tiger Rug Portrait
1882

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Actress Dame Marie Tempest Portrait
1892

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Oscar Wilde Full Length Standing Portrait

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Oscar Wilde
1882

 


NAPOLEON SARONY.
Oscar Wilde
1882

 


NAPOLEON SARONY. Actress Minnie Maddern Fiske Portrait
1897
 

During the last 40 years of the 19th century, portraiture expanded more rapidly in the less-industrialized portions of Europe, and in Australia, India, China, Japan, Mexico, and South America. Owing to the fact that owners of commercial studios in provincial towns frequently served a clientele drawn from all classes, they sometimes produced extensive documentations not only of physiognomies but of social and psychological attitudes. One such example is the large output of portraits by Danish photographer Heinrich Tonnics, working in Aalborg from the 1860s into the 1900s, which includes some 750 portraits of working people attired in the garments and displaying the tools of their occupations. Despite the formality of the poses in studio settings (pi no. 69), these images are not merely descriptive but suggest prevailing attitudes toward work on the part of both photographer and sitters. In some localities, patriots saw the camera as a means of emphasizing ethnic or national origin. A fine line may separate the portrait taken by Polish photographer Awit Szubert of his wife in native dress (pi. no. 70) from many similar images of locally costumed figures that were made and sold in carte and cabinet size for the tourist trade, but even in some of these images a sense of national pride is discernible.

Besides playing a role in the development of cultural nationalism in Europe, portraits also reflected the rising interest in anthropology, In the western hemisphere, early manifestations of the interest in native types included portraits of individual members of the Indian tribes indigenous to the West, made in the course of the land surveys and explorations (see Chapter 3) that followed the end of the Civil War. In the wake of these expeditions, several frontier studios opened their doors to Native American sitters, among them that of Will Soule, in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which specialized in commercial portrayals of individuals posed formally in front of painted backdrops, as in an 1868 photograph titled simply Brave in War Dress (pi. no. 71). In South America, Marc Ferrez, the best-known Brazilian photographer of the 19th century, photographed Indians of the Amazon region while on expeditions to the interior in the mid-1870s; in the same years strong interest in images of indigenous peoples prompted studios in Australia to photograph the Aborigines of the region.

69. HEINRICH TONNIES. Four Young Blacksmiths, c. 1881.
Modern gelatin silver print from original negative.
Formerly collection Alexander Alland, North Salem, N.Y.

70. AWIT SZUBERT. Amelia Szubert, c. 1875.
Albumen print. Collection Konrad Pollesch, Cracow;
International Center of Photography, New York.

71. WILL SOULE. Brave in War Dress, c. 1868.
Albumen print. Western History Collection,
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.

 
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