History of Photography

  • Mirror with a Memory

    Next Wednesday, August 19th, has been declared as World Photography Day! It celebrates the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process by two Frenchman – Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre and Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (pronounced: nee-epps) in 1837.

    On January 9, 1839, the French Academy of Science announced the Daguerreotype process to the world, and on August 19, 1839, the French government purchased the patent and permitted its use for free, except for the English who were required to pay a fee. The use of the patent was a “gift to the world”.

    There were several inventors of photography the world over. Some were aware of each other, others worked in isolation. Most of the early inventors were trying to fix an image through the action of light.  Each was motivated by “a need” in their own working lives besides having scientific curiosity.

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    Mirror with a Memory
  • Beaumont Newhall - Personal Memories

    I feel a little like my mother who used to start apologizing for her cooking as she was bringing the food to the table. I hope my writing about Beaumont doesn’t get tiresome for you readers.  So much of my life has been impacted by the years I spent with him, 1978 -1993, and still is, because of my role as co-executor of his and Nancy Newhall’s estate. Although I’ve told the story of my meeting him many times, today I would like to write about Beaumont’s photography and how my printing his photographs led to becoming a fine art photography dealer.

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    Beaumont Newhall – Personal Memories
  • 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.

    To view the video click here

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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
  • 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
  • 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.

    We have been blessed these past 40 years with the many relationships we have formed with artists and gallery visitors. Two relationships that stand out, for obvious reasons, are our with our mentors, Beaumont Newhall and Eliot Porter. My years with Beaumont continues to enhance my life daily in both my work and as co-executor of his estate.

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    Eliot Porter – A Personal Story
  • 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
  • Not One More

    This week brought back so many memories. In our youth we learned that taking to the streets does make a difference. We made great strides to address segregation in our country and helped end a war. We fought for the rights of Farm Workers and Equal Rights for women, marching in the streets of our cities and then on Washington. We did much to bring attention to issues, but how much has actually changed is still being weighed. Although we felt pride at what we had achieved, we knew there was still much to do to address the root causes of so many of the issues we fought for and are still fighting for.

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    Not One More
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