History of Photography

  • Laura Gilpin

    I moved to Santa Fe from Brooklyn, New York, in 1978 with the hope of meeting Beaumont Newhall.  I was aware that Santa Fe was considered an art community and although a small town, with a population of about 50,000, I soon realized that within that population there were 10,000 artists.

    I slowly became familiar with other photographers who had made Santa Fe their home. Besides Beaumont Newhall, there was Eliot Porter, Paul Caponigro, Walter Chappell, among many others. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that while walking just three blocks from where I was living, I passed a small adobe house, set back from Monte del Sol, with a sign posted, LAURA GILPIN. I had not known that she lived here and soon after that discovery I made arrangements to visit her. From her wheelchair, she exuded an energy and lightness of being that quickly made me feel welcome. By her choosing, the conversation was more about me than her. She asked most of the questions. I was shown her darkroom and her studio space both filled with photographs everywhere. She passed not long after that day. As I write this I see her before me. What an honor it was to have met her.

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    Laura Gilpin
  • Science and Art

    Since last week’s posting, which included the Sagendorf comic about Johann Heinrich Schultze and his discovery regarding chemical sensitivity to light, I’ve been thinking about the role of science/scientists in the development of photography. Those of you that studied the History of Photography with me know that my first lecture is focused on the “pre-history”.  I have often gone off on a rant thinking about what would have happened if scientists and artists had spent more time together. If that were the case I do believe the technological advances would have been discovered many years before they were.

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    Science and Art
  • Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Manuel Carrillo

    It seems things will continue to challenge us more before things get better. Here in New Mexico, the virus continues to expand throughout our state, especially in the Northwest section, which is primarily the Navajo Nation, and in the south where there are a number of (ICE) Immigration Detention Centers. As if this isn’t enough we are also experiencing a drought with extremely high temperatures. Each day nearing 100 degrees in Santa Fe!

    I realize things are probably not too different where you are, so please, wear your mask and practice social distancing as our medical experts recommend. We want to see all of you when this is over, so take care of yourselves and your families.

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    Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Manuel Carrillo
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

    Today, so close to July 4th, seems fitting to talk about an American classic book: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.  This work, which began as an assignment for Fortune Magazine, in 1936, was to document the lives of sharecroppers in Hale County Alabama. The article was never printed, but five years later, in 1941, it was published as a book. Although it sold few copies upon publication, over the years this volume has taken its place alongside other masterpieces and is still studied today for its blend of prose and photography.

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    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
  • Eliot Porter - A Personal Story

    We have written a number of emails about Eliot Porter regarding his life and work. Today, rather than focus on his place as the father of color photography, we will talk about our relationship, mentorship, and friendship with Eliot and his wife, Aline Porter, and how that came about.

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    Eliot Porter – A Personal Story
  • Experimental Photography and Education
    The Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and the Institute of Art and Design

    In regard to transformative imagery and pioneering experimental photography, The Bauhaus probably had the most influence on our medium both in Germany and in America. Including photography, alongside other established mediums in their curriculum, was in itself an innovation. I find it fascinating to trace the influence the Bauhaus had in both education and art. We are still benefiting from their philosophies and impact as students, teachers, and artists today.

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    Experimental Photography and Education
  • The Voice of the Print

    Minor White
    Walter Chappell
    Paul Caponigro

    The Camera Records Superbly, it Transforms Better.
    Minor White

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    The Voice of the Print
  • Jerry Uelsmann: Process and Perception

    “It is my conviction that the darkroom is capable of being, in the truest sense, a visual research lab; a place for discovery, observation and meditation.”
    Jerry Uelsmann

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    Jerry Uelsmann: Process and Perception
  • In the Presence of Heroes

    In honor of Memorial Day, this week we remember the veterans of our past wars and those serving around the globe today. I will take the liberty of making this personal by beginning this week with a tribute to my father, Louis Scheinbaum, who served in the 79th Infantry Division and landed in Normandy on Utah Beach, D-Day plus six, after the initial invasion. He was the recipient of both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart among other medals.

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    In the Presence of Heros
  • The Language of the Camera Eye: Ansel Adams and Beaumont Newhall

    The contributions of Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984) to further photography’s acceptance as an art form are many. Besides his artistic works, he spent much of his time educating photographers in both the technical aspects of the medium and the formal aspects of image making. His highly technical system of exposure and development called the Zone System offered photographers the ability to control the tonalities in an image to the point that one could turn black to white or white to black. This complex system of understanding exposure and development when using traditional black and white materials liberated photographers from the technical side of things to concentrate fully on the image.

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    The Language of the Camera Eye
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