History of photography
Toward the end of the 19th and into the early 20th century, greater
numbers of magazines were published throughout the world. The
enlarged demand for photographic illustration, along with the
appearance of lighter, easier-to-use camera equipment, led to an
increase in images of war for reproduction. The Spanish-American War
was documented by Jimmy Hare, the South African War by Horace W.
Nicholls, the Russo-Japanese War by Luigi Barzini, and the Mexican
Revolution by Augustin Victor Casasola. Although strict censorship
prevailed with regard to the photographic record of World War I, the
prominence of picture magazines from the 1920s through the 1950s
ensured the continuance of war reportage.
A new approach to photojournalism began to emerge with the
appearance of the Ermanox in 1924 and the Leica in 1925. These two
German-made miniature cameras, fitted with wide-aperture lenses,
required extremely short exposure times for outdoor work and were
even able to photograph indoor scenes with available light. The
Leica had the added advantage of using 35-mm roll film that could be
advanced quickly, allowing a succession of exposures to be made of
the same subject. This capability led to photographs whose
informality of pose and sense of presence were remarkable.
to these developments, the photojournalist was able to perceive a
significant moment in a fraction of a second and to use the camera
with such speed and precision that the instantaneous perception
would be preserved forever. This is evident in the work of the
Hungarian André Kertész in Paris during the 1920s. The Frenchman
Henri Cartier-Bresson began about 1930 to develop the style that he
later called the search for the “decisive moment.” To him the camera
was an “extension of the eye.” Preferring the miniature 35-mm-film
camera, he worked unobtrusively, making numerous exposures that
usually included one in which all the elements come together to form
a compelling psychological and visual statement.
In 1928–29 two of the largest picture magazines in Europe, the
Münchner Illustrierte Presse and the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung,
began to print the new style of photographs. Erich Salomon captured
revealing candid portraits of politicians and other personalities by
sneaking his camera into places and meetings officially closed to
photographers. Felix H. Man, encouraged by Stefan Lorant, editor of
the Münchner Illustrierte, made sequences of photographs at
interviews and cultural and social events, which Lorant then laid
out in imaginative picture essays.
The example of the German picture magazines was followed in other
parts of Europe and in the United States. One was the short-lived
Vu, established in Paris in 1928. An issue of Vu devoted entirely to
the Spanish Civil War contained memorable photographs by Robert Capa.
In 1936 both Life and Look were conceived in the United States, and
a formula evolved in which the picture editor, photographer,
researcher, and writer constituted a team.
Among Life’s first photographers were Bourke-White, already
famous for her industrial photographs made largely for the magazine
Fortune; Alfred Eisenstaedt, an experienced photo reporter for the
Keystone Picture Agency in Germany; Hansel Mieth, also from Germany,
who at times worked with her husband, Otto Hagel; and Peter
Stackpole, whose photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge in San
Francisco attracted much attention. The concept of Life from the
start, according to its founder, Henry Luce, was to replace
haphazard picture taking and editing with the “mind-guided camera.”
Photographers were briefed for their assignments and encouraged to
take great quantities of photographs so that the editors might have
a large selection. (The fact that selection and sequencing were a
function of the editors led to objections on the part of some
photographers, notably W. Eugene Smith, who left the employ of Life
at one point in order to gain greater control over his own work.)
The visual organization of the picture story was carefully planned
for maximum reader impact. The opening photograph of the photo-essay
established the situation, and as with written narration there was a
visual climax and a definite conclusion.
Initially Life and Look preferred to use pictures of great
sharpness and depth. Thus, instead of unobtrusive miniature cameras,
American photographers used large-format cameras requiring slow
lenses, large plates, and additional flash light. This way of
photographing was challenged by Lorant, who had left the Münchner
Illustrierte Presse after being forced to leave Germany in 1934. He
eventually settled in London, where he established the magazines
Weekly Illustrated (1934) and Picture Post (1938). Staff
photographers on both magazines included old colleagues also forced
from Germany, such as Man and Kurt Hutton. They and other
contributors were encouraged to develop the technique and pictorial
style of taking photographs by using available light—i.e., not using
a flash. Their pictures had a remarkable naturalness that brought
great reader appeal—so much so that Life began to publish similar
photographs and in 1945 hired a former Picture Post photographer,
Leonard McCombe, with an extraordinary clause in his contract: he
was forbidden to use a flash.
The photojournalistic style popularized by Life and Look
influenced other activity in the field, in particular the exhibition
“Family of Man,” which was mounted by Steichen at the Museum of
Modern Art in New York City in 1955. This highly popular exhibition
presented over 500 photographs—mostly photojournalistic and
documentary work—alongside texts of different sizes and formats,
somewhat in the manner of a three-dimensional magazine.
Memorable groups of
photographs were taken for the major picture magazines. Examples are
Man’s A Day with Mussolini, first published in the Münchner
Illustrierte Presse (1931) and then, with a brilliant new layout, in
Picture Post; Smith’s Spanish Village (1951) and Nurse Midwife
(1951) in Life; and Eisenstaedt’s informal, penetrating portraits of
famous Britons, also in Life. Images by Eisenstaedt of the Italian
incursion into Ethiopia and by David Seymour (“Chim”) and Capa of
the Spanish Civil War made visible events leading up to World War
II. This conflict was thoroughly documented for the Western allies
by military personnel as well as by Capa, Bourke-White, Dmitry
Baltermants, Yevgeny Khaldey, and Constance Stuart Larrabee on the
North African, eastern European, and western European fronts and by
Smith in the South Pacific. Heinrich Hoffman portrayed the war at
home and at the front for Germany, and Yosuke Yamahata documented
the role of the Japanese army in the South Pacific.
Andre Kertesz, original name Andor Kohn (born July 2, 1894, Budapest
[Hungary]—died September 28, 1985, New York, New York, U.S.),
Hungarian-born American photographer known for his lyrical and
formally rigorous pictures of everyday life. One of the
most-inventive photographers of the 20th century, Kertész set the
standard for the use of the handheld camera, created a highly
autobiographical body of work, and developed a distinctive visual
Kertész began photographing in 1912, the same year he took a job
as a clerk at the Giro Bank of the Budapest Stock Exchange. During
World War I he served in the Austro-Hungarian army. He saw action
and continued taking pictures on the Eastern Front, where he was
severely wounded. In 1918 he returned to work at the bank,
photographing in his spare time.
Because of a lack of opportunities in Hungary, Kertész moved to
Paris in 1925 to work as a freelance photographer. His poetic images
of Paris street life, often taken from high vantage points, involve
unexpected juxtapositions and make frequent use of reflections and
shadows. In 1927 Kertész had a well-received show at the Au Sacre du
Printemps Gallery in Paris. The following year he participated in
the influential First Independent Salon of Photography. His
photographs, notable for their blend of a romantic sensibility with
modernist attitudes, were frequently cited by critics of the 1920s
and ’30s as proof that photography could be considered a fine art.
Apart from his images of everyday life, Kertész took portraits of
luminaries such as Russian filmmaker Sergey Eisenstein, Dutch
painter Piet Mondrian, French writer Colette, Belorussian French
artist Marc Chagall, French painter Fernand Léger, American sculptor
Alexander Calder, and Romanian-born French writer Tristan Tzara.
Some of those portraits were made on assignment for the trailblazing
French picture magazine Vu (published 1928–40). Kertész worked as a
lead photographer for Vu from its launch until 1936. Among his
picture essays were those about a Trappist abbey, the tradespeople
of Paris, Lorraine, Burgundy, and other regions of France. He also
contributed to Art et Médecine and many other European periodicals.
In 1928 Kertész bought a Leica, a small handheld camera that gave
him the ability to move more freely within any environment. Although
he frequently staked out settings and patiently awaited the
photographic moment, he is considered a pioneering street
photographer, a label that implies quickly sizing up and capturing
an unfolding situation. Street photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson
and Brassaï, to whom Kertész taught photography, cited him as an
important influence. He also mentored Hungarian-born American
photojournalist Robert Capa.
Kertész married Hungarian-born painter Rozsa Klein in 1928. He
taught her photography, and she soon became a respected photographic
portraitist known as Rogi André. In 1932 the couple divorced. The
following year Kertész married another Hungarian, Erzsébet
(Elizabeth) Salamon (also known as Erzsébet, or Elizabeth, Saly).
Also in 1933 the humorous, often risqué magazine Le Sourire
commissioned from Kertész a series of nude photographs using
distorting mirrors. In the end, he made more than 200 Distortions.
He continued to use distorting mirrors in his photography
intermittently for the next half century. His first book, Enfants
(1933; “Children”) was followed by Paris Vu par André Kertész (1934;
“Paris Seen by André Kertész”) and Nos Amies les Bêtes (1936; “Our
Friends the Animals”).
Kertész traveled to New York City in 1936 on a one-year contract
with the Keystone Press Agency. Unhappy with the studio fashion work
he was assigned and with life in New York, he soon broke his
contract, though financial difficulties and World War II prevented
his return to Europe. In 1944 he became a U.S. citizen.
From 1936 to 1947 Kertész worked as a freelance photographer for
American magazines, including Look, Coronet, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue,
and Town and Country. However, some American editors considered his
images too poetic and, therefore, unsuitable for their story and
layout ideas. In 1947 he signed an exclusive contract with Condé
Nast publications, becoming a staff photographer for House and
Garden under art editor Alexander Liberman. Although Kertész was
well paid, the steady work left him frustrated, in part because it
left him little time to pursue his personal projects.
He quit Condé Nast in 1962 and soon achieved the public notice
and favourable critical reception that had eluded him since his move
to the U.S. A solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art
(1964–65), a Guggenheim fellowship (1974), and a retrospective at
the Pompidou Centre in Paris (1977–78) were among the honours that
ensued. During the 1970s his images, offered by New York’s Light
Gallery in limited-edition portfolios, helped launch the photography
market for private collectors.
Kertész continued to make expressive and deeply personal images.
He often photographed with a telephoto lens from his apartment
overlooking Washington Square. Beginning in 1978, he used a Polaroid
camera to create a major series that combined still life with views
from his windows and paid homage to his wife, who had died in 1977.
Kertész had major exhibitions at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
(1980), the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1983), and the Art
Institute of Chicago and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos
Aires (both 1985). Posthumous exhibitions of his work include
traveling retrospectives organized by the National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C. (2005), and the Jeu de Paume, Paris (2010). His
books include On Reading (1971), André Kertész: Sixty Years of
Photography, 1912–1972 (1972), J’aime Paris: Photographs Since the
Twenties (1974), and Kertész on Kertész: A Self-Portrait (1985).
Kertész died at age 91 after one of the longest and most-prolific
careers in photography. He took perhaps more iconic photographs than
any other modern photographer. His instantly recognizable images
include Underwater Swimmer (1917), Wandering Violinist (1921), Chez
Mondrian (1926), Satiric Dancer (1926), Fork (1928), Meudon (1928),
Clock of the Académie Française (1929), Washington Square (1954),
and Martinique (1972).
Andre Kertesz. Circus, Budapest, 19 May 1920
Henri Cartier-Bresson, (born August 22, 1908, Chanteloup,
France—died August 3, 2004, Céreste), French photographer whose
humane, spontaneous photographs helped establish photojournalism as
an art form. His theory that photography can capture the meaning
beneath outward appearance in instants of extraordinary clarity is
perhaps best expressed in his book Images à la sauvette (1952; The
Cartier-Bresson was born and attended school in a village not far
from Paris. In 1927–28 he studied in Paris with André Lhote, an
artist and critic associated with the Cubist movement. Lhote
implanted in him a lifelong interest in painting, a crucial factor
in the education of his vision. In 1929 Cartier-Bresson went to the
University of Cambridge, where he studied literature and painting.
As a boy, Cartier-Bresson had been initiated into the mysteries
of the simple “Brownie” snapshot camera. But his first serious
concern with the medium occurred about 1930, after seeing the work
of two major 20th-century photographers, Eugène Atget and Man Ray.
Making use of a small allowance, he traveled in Africa in 1931,
where he lived in the bush, recording his experiences with a
miniature camera. There he contracted blackwater fever,
necessitating his return to France. The portability of a small
camera and the ease with which one could record instantaneous
impressions must have struck a sympathetic chord, for in 1933 he
purchased his first 35-mm Leica. The use of this type of camera was
particularly relevant to Cartier-Bresson. It lent itself not only to
spontaneity but to anonymity as well. So much did Cartier-Bresson
wish to remain a silent, and even unseen, witness, that he covered
the bright chromium parts of his camera with black tape to render it
less visible, and he sometimes hid the camera under a handkerchief.
The man was similarly reticent about his life and work.
In more than 40 years as a photographer, Cartier-Bresson wandered
continually around the world. But there was nothing compulsive about
his travels, and he explicitly expressed a desire to move slowly, to
“live on proper terms” in each country, to take his time, so that he
became totally immersed in the environment.
In 1937 Cartier-Bresson produced a documentary film, his first,
on medical aid in the Spanish Civil War. The date also marked his
first reportage photographs made for newspapers and magazines. His
enthusiasm for filmmaking was further gratified when, from 1936 to
1939, he worked as an assistant to the film director Jean Renoir in
the production of Une Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country) and
La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game). As a photographer he felt
indebted to the great films he saw as a youth. They taught him, he
said, to choose precisely the expressive moment, the telling
viewpoint. The importance he gave to sequential images in still
photography may be attributed to his preoccupation with film.
In 1940, during World War II, Cartier-Bresson was taken prisoner
by the Germans. He escaped in 1943 and the following year
participated in a French underground photographic unit assigned to
record the German occupation and retreat. In 1945 he made a film for
the U.S. Office of War Information, Le Retour, which dealt with the
return to France of released prisoners of war and deportees.
Though Cartier-Bresson’s photographs had been exhibited in 1933
in the prestigious Julien Levy Gallery in New York City, a more
important tribute was paid to him in 1947, when a one-man exhibition
was held in that city’s Museum of Modern Art. In that same year,
Cartier-Bresson, in partnership with the U.S. photographer Robert
Capa and others, founded the cooperative photo agency known as
Magnum Photos. The organization offered periodicals global coverage
by some of the most talented photojournalists of the time. Under the
aegis of Magnum, Cartier-Bresson concentrated more than ever on
reportage photography. The following three years found him in India,
China, Indonesia, and Egypt. This material and more, taken in the
1950s in Europe, formed the subjects of several books published
between 1952 and 1956. Such publications helped considerably to
establish Cartier-Bresson’s reputation as a master of his craft. One
of them, and perhaps the best known, Images à la sauvette, contains
what is probably Cartier-Bresson’s most comprehensive and important
statement on the meaning, technique, and utility of photography. The
title refers to a central idea in his work—the decisive moment—the
elusive instant when, with brilliant clarity, the appearance of the
subject reveals in its essence the significance of the event of
which it is a part, the most telling organization of forms. Later
books include Cartier-Bresson’s France (1971), The Face of Asia
(1972), and About Russia (1974).
He was singularly honoured by his own country in 1955, when a
retrospective exhibition of 400 of his photographs was held at the
Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and was then displayed in Europe,
the United States, and Japan before the photographs were finally
deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale (National Library) in Paris.
In 1963 he photographed in Cuba; in 1963–64, in Mexico; and in 1965,
in India. The French filmmaker Louis Malle recalled that, during the
student revolt in Paris in May 1968, Cartier-Bresson appeared with
his 35-mm camera and, despite the explosive activities, took
photographs at the rate of only about four per hour.
In the late 1960s Cartier-Bresson began to concentrate on making
motion pictures—including Impressions of California (1969) and
Southern Exposures (1971). He believed that still photography and
its use in pictorial magazines was, to a large extent, being
superseded by television. On principle, he always avoided developing
his own prints, convinced that the technical exigencies of
photography were a harmful distraction. Similarly, he directed the
shooting of films and did not wield the camera himself. With this
medium, however, he was no longer able to work unobtrusively by
himself. Cartier-Bresson devoted his later years to drawing.
His Leica—his notebook, as he called it—accompanied him wherever
he went, and, consistent with his training as a painter, he always
carried a small sketch pad. There was for Cartier-Bresson a kind of
social implication in the camera. To his mind, photography provided
a means, in an increasingly synthetic epoch, for preserving the real
and humane world.
Henri Cartier-Bresson. Photograph of Alberto Giacometti
Erich Salomon, (born April 28, 1886, Berlin, Ger.—died July 7, 1944,
Auschwitz, Pol.), pioneering German photojournalist who is best
known for his candid photographs of statesmen and celebrities.
Salomon’s early interests included carpentry and zoology. He
received a doctorate in law from the University of Munich, but he
practiced law only briefly. His career as a freelance photographer
began in 1928, when he bought an Ermanox, one of the first miniature
cameras equipped with a high-speed lens, which enabled him to
photograph in dim light. He concealed this camera in an attaché case
and secretly took photographs of a sensational murder trial. These
sold so well to news periodicals that he became a professional
photojournalist. He began to specialize in photographing
international conferences and social gatherings of heads of state,
with the intention of showing the human qualities of world leaders
who were usually only captured in stiff, formal portraits. Working
inconspicuously, he especially enjoyed catching the leaders’
unguarded moments of fatigue, delight, or disgust. His uncanny
ability to capture private moments prompted Aristide Briand, 11-time
premier of France, to call him “the king of indiscretion.” Salomon’s
presence at state functions eventually became customary, however,
and Briand later stated that nobody would believe a meeting was
important unless Salomon photographed it. Salomon’s informal,
spontaneous style had a lasting influence on the way
photojournalists captured famous figures.
Salomon visited England in 1929 and the United States in 1930,
photographing prominent persons of both countries. In 1931 he
published Berühmte Zeitgenossen in unbewachten Augenblicken
(“Celebrated Contemporaries in Unguarded Moments”), a collection of
his photographs of more than 170 celebrities.
Because he was Jewish, Salomon went into hiding in the
Netherlands during World War II, but he was finally betrayed by a
Dutch Nazi. In May 1944 he was sent to the concentration camp at
Auschwitz, where he died.
Erich Salomon. Marlene Dietrich in Hollywood telephones
her daughter in Berlin, 1930
Robert Capa, original name (Hungarian form) Friedmann Endre Ernő
(born 1913, Budapest, Hungary—died May 25, 1954, Thai Binh,
Vietnam), photographer whose images of war made him one of the
greatest photojournalists of the 20th century.
Capa, Robert [Credit: London Express/Hulton Archive/Getty
Images]In 1931 and 1932 Capa worked for Dephot, a German picture
agency, before establishing himself in Paris, where he assumed the
name Robert Capa. He first achieved fame as a war correspondent in
the Spanish Civil War. By 1936 his mature style fully emerged in
grim, close-up views of death such as Loyalist Soldier, Spain. Such
immediate images embodied Capa’s famous saying, “If your pictures
aren’t good enough, then you aren’t close enough.” In World War II
he covered much of the heaviest fighting in Africa, Sicily, and
Italy for Life magazine, and his photographs of the Normandy
Invasion became some of the most memorable of the war.
After being sworn in as a United States citizen in 1946, Capa in
1947 joined with the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and David
(“Chim”) Seymour to found Magnum Photos, the first cooperative
agency of international freelance photographers. Although he covered
the fighting in Palestine in 1948, most of Capa’s time was spent
guiding newer members of Magnum and selling their work. He served as
the director of the Magnum office in Paris from 1950 to 1953. In
1954 Capa volunteered to photograph the French Indochina War for
Life and was killed by a land mine while on assignment. His untimely
death helped establish his posthumous reputation as a
quintessentially fearless photojournalist. Publications featuring
his photographs include Death in the Making (1937), Slightly Out of
Focus (1947), Images of War (1964), Children of War, Children of
Peace (1991), and Robert Capa: Photographs (1996).
Robert Capa. Leipzig, Dr. jur. Ernst Kurt Lisso's suicide.
David Seymour, original name David
Szymin, pseudonym Chim (born November 20, 1911, Warsaw, Poland,
Russian Empire [now in Poland]—died November 10, 1956, near Suez
Canal, Egypt), Polish-born American photojournalist who is best
known for his empathetic pictures of people, especially children.
Seymour studied graphic arts in
Warsaw and in 1931 went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, where he
became interested in photography. During this period he befriended
the photographers Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, and he took
the name “Chim,” adapted from his surname, Szymin (he would change
his surname to Seymour when he immigrated to the United States). In
the late 1930s he covered many important political events. His
pictures of the Spanish Civil War, particularly those that portrayed
the impact of the war on the civilians of Barcelona, received
widespread attention and were published in magazines such as Regards
After coming to the United States
in 1939, he served in the U.S. Army as a photo interpreter for three
years. In 1947 he founded the influential Magnum Photos cooperative
agency, along with Capa, Cartier-Bresson, and others. The group
formed in order to have control over their own assignments and to
retain copyrights over their own negatives. The next year, on
assignment for the United Nations Educational and Scientific
Organization (UNESCO), Seymour photographed children who had been
physically and spiritually damaged by the war, creating powerful,
unforgettable images. The project was later turned into a critically
acclaimed book called Children of Europe (1949). From then until his
death he traveled extensively in Europe and Israel on assignments
for various publications. He was killed while covering the
Other books of Seymour’s
photographs include The Vatican (1950), with text by Ann Carnahan,
and David Seymour (“Chim”) (1966).
A Disturbed Child in a Warsaw
Orphanage, 1948, by Chim.
In the United States in the late
1930s. Life magazine, which had evolved from ideas and experiences
tested in Europe even though it was itself quintessentially
American, came to represent a paradigm of photojournalism. For its
concept, Life, a publication of Henry Luce, drew upon many sources.
In addition to the example of the European picture weeklies, it took
into account the popularity of cinema newsreels, in particular The
March of Time with which the Luce publishing enterprise was
associated. The successes of Luce's other publications—the
cryptically written Time and the lavishly produced Fortune, with its
extensive use of photographic illustration to give essays on
American industrialism an attractive gloss—also were factors in the
decision to launch a serious picture weekly that proposed to
humanize through photography the complex political and social issues
of the time for a mass audience. Following Life's debut in 1936,
with a handsome industrial image of the gigantic concrete structure
of Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White on its first cover, the weekly demonstrated that through selection, arrangement,
and captioning, photographs could, in the words of its most
influential picture editor, Wilson Hicks, "lend themselves to
something of the same manipulation as words." Vivid images, well
printed on large-size pages of coated stock, attracted a readership
that mounted to three million within the magazine's first three
years. Life was followed by other weeklies with a similar approach,
among them Look and Holiday in the United States, Picture Post, Heute, Paris Match, and Der Spiegel in Europe.
The first ten years of Life
coincided with the series of conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Europe
that eventually turned into the second World War. Not surprisingly,
between 1936 and 1945 images of strife in Abyssinia, China, France,
Italy, the Soviet Union, and remote Pacific islands filled the pages
of the magazine; for the first time, worldwide audiences were
provided a front-row seat to observe global conflicts. In response
to the insatiable demand for dramatic pictures and despite
censorship imposed by military authorities or occasioned by the
magazine's own particular editorial policy, war images displayed a
definite style, dianks in part to new, efficient camera equipment.
The opportunity to convince isolation-prone Americans of the evils
of Fascism undoubtedly was a factor in the intense feeling evident
in a number of the images by European photojournalists on the
In style, these photographs were
influenced both by the precise character of the New Objectivity and
by the spontaneity facilitated by the small camera. Eisenstaedt's
portrayal of an Ethiopian soldier fighting in puttees and bare feet
against Mussolini's army during the Italian con-quest of Abyssinia
in 1935 focuses on an unusual and poignant detail to
suggest the tragedy of the unprepared Abyssinians confronting a
ruthless, well-equipped army. May Daw Barcelona by Chim
(David Seymoun conveys through harsh contrast and the facial
expression of the woman looking upward the intensity with which the
Spanish people greeted the insurrection of the exiled government
that led to the Spanish Civil War.
MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE. Fort
Peck Dam, Montana, 1936.
First cover of Life Magazine, November 23, 1936.
CHIM (DAVID SEYMOUR). May Day,
Gelatin silver print.
DAVID SEYMOUR (CHIM)
Chim (pronounced shim) was the
pseudonym of David Seymour (November 20, 1911 – November 10, 1956),
an American photographer and photojournalist. Born David Szymin in
Warsaw to Polish Jewish parents, he became interested in photography
while studying in Paris. He began working as a freelance journalist
Chim's coverage of the Spanish Civil War, Czechoslovakia and other
European events established his reputation. He was particularly
known for his poignant treatment of people, especially children. In
1939 he documented the journey of Loyalist Spanish refugees to
Mexico and was in New York when World War II broke out. In 1940 he
enlisted in the United States Army, serving in Europe as a photo
interpreter during the war. He became a naturalized citizen of the
United States in 1942, the same year that his parents were killed by
the Nazis. After the war, he returned to Europe to document the
plight of refugee children for UNESCO.
Sometime after D-Day, Chim met Life (magazine)'s Paris Bureau Head
Will Lang Jr. and had lunch with him at a cafe' in the Bois de
Boulogne in Paris, France. Alongside with him that day was reporter
Dida Comacho and photographer Yale Joel.
In 1947, Chim co-founded the Magnum Photos photography cooperative,
together with Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom he had
befriended in 1930s Paris. Chim's reputation for his compelling
photos of war orphans was complemented by his later work in
photographing Hollywood celebrities such as Sophia Loren, Kirk
Douglas, Ingrid Bergman, and Joan Collins.
After Capa's death in 1954, Chim became president of Magnum Photos.
He held the post until November 10, 1956, when he was killed
(together with French photographer Jean Roy) by Egyptian machine-gun
fire, while covering the armistice of the 1956 Suez War.
An even more famous image of that
conflict is Death of a Loyalist Soldier (pi. no. 606) by Robert
Capa, a Hungarian-born photojournalist whose images of the Civil War
appeared in Vu, Picture Post, and, in 1938, in a book entitled Death
in the Making. At the time, Capa's views of civilians, soldiers, and
bombed ruins seemed to sum up the shocking irrationality of war; the
photographer also established the mystique of the photojournalist's
commitment to being part of the action being recorded. While Capa
quipped that he preferred to "remain unemployed as a war
photographer," he held that "if your pictures aren't good enough
you're not close enough." Eventually he found himself photographing
the invasion of Normandy on D-Day for Life; he died in
1954 on a battlefield in Indochina, where he was killed by a
landmine—a fate similar to that of several other photojournalists
who photographed war action.
Bourke-White, Lee Miller, Carl
Mydans, George Rodger, George Silk, and W. Eugene Smith, among other
Allied photojournalists, were active on various fronts during World
War II, and photographers in the Armed Services also provided
coverage. Despite hesitation on the part of army brass to show the
full extent of war's suffering and death and despite their
preference for uplifting imagery, photographs that the American
photojournalist Smith (see Profile) made during the Pacific campaign express compassion for the victimized, whether
combatants or civilians, who are caught up in incomprehensible
circumstances. This attitude continued to be a leitmotif of the
imagery made by Western Europeans and Americans during the second
World War and its aftermath. It is visible in the work of David
Douglas Duncan in Korea, Philip Jones Griffiths in Vietnam, Romano Cagnoni in Cambodia and Pakistan, and Donald McCullin
in Vietnam, Cyprus, and Africa, to name only a few of
the many photojournalists reporting the struggles that continued to
erupt in the less-industrialized parts of the world. At times, these
photographers relieved the grimness of events by concentrating on
the picturesque aspects of a scene, exemplified by Duncan's image of
the Turkish cavalry in the snow, in which small
figures disposed over the flattened white ground bring to mind
Ottoman miniatures rather than contemporary warfare.
The work of Polish and Russian
photographers on the Eastern Front in World War II has become better
known in the West during the past two decades. Galina Sanko's
corpses and Dmitri Baltermants's Identifying the Dead,
Russian Front portray the victims with sorrow, but
Soviet war photographers also celebrated victories, as in Yevgeny
Khaldey's raising of the flag. Reportage of the
liberation of Paris by Albert and Jean Seeberger
captures determination, heroism, and fear. In general, German and
Japanese photographs of the war emphasize feats by native soldiers
and civilians, but images of the aftermath of the atom bombing of
Nagasaki by the United States Air Force, taken by the Japanese army
photographer Yosuke Yamahata, are entirely different. First brought
to light some 40 years after the event, these gruesome
images—divested of any nationality—are emblems of a nuclear tragedy
that had the potential to efface humanitv everywhere.
ROBERT CAPA. Death of a
Loyalist Soldier, 1936.
Gelatin silver print.
Robert Capa (Budapest, October 22,
1913 – May 25, 1954) was a 20th century combat photographer who
covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second
Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli
War, and the First Indochina War. He documented the course of World
War II in London, North Africa, Italy, the Battle of Normandy on
Omaha Beach and the liberation of Paris. Capa's younger brother,
Cornell Capa, is also a photographer.
Born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary in 1913 as Endre Ernő Friedmann,
Capa left the country in 1932 after being arrested because of his
political involvement with protestors against the government (his
parents had encouraged him to settle elsewhere).
Capa originally wanted to be a writer; however, he found work in
photography in Berlin and grew to love the art. In 1933, he moved
from Germany to France because of the rise of Nazism (he was
Jewish), but found it difficult to find work there as a freelance
journalist. He adopted the name "Robert Capa" around this time
because he felt that it would be recognizable and American-sounding
since it was similar to that of film director Frank Capra.
From 1936 to 1939, he was in Spain, photographing the horrors of the
Spanish Civil War. In 1936 he became known across the globe for a
photo he took on the Cordoba Front of a Loyalist Militiaman who had
just been shot and was in the act of falling to his death. Because
of his proximity to the victim and the timing of the capture, there
was a long controversy about the authenticity of this photograph. A
Spanish historian identified the dead soldier as Federico Borrell
García, from Alcoi (Valencia). There is a second photograph showing
another soldier who fell on the same spot.
Many of Capa's photographs of the Spanish Civil War were, for many
decades, presumed lost, but surfaced in Mexico City in the late
1990s. While fleeing Europe in 1939, Capa had lost the collection,
which over time came to be dubbed the "Mexican suitcase". Ownership
of the collection was transferred to the Capa Estate, and in
December, 2007, moved to the International Center of Photography, a
museum founded by Capa's younger brother Cornell in Manhattan.
At the start of World War II, Capa was in New York City. He had
moved there from Paris to look for new work and to escape Nazi
persecution. The war took Capa to various parts of the European
Theatre on photography assignments. He first photographed for
Collier's Weekly, before switching to Life after he was fired by the
former. When first hired, he was a citizen of Hungary, but he was
also Jewish, which allowed him to negotiate visas to Europe. He was
the only "enemy alien" photographer for the Allies. On October 7,
1943, Robert Capa was in Naples with Life reporter Will Lang Jr. and
photographed the Naples post office bombing.
His most famous work occurred on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) when he swam
ashore with the second assault wave on Omaha Beach. He was armed
with two Contax II cameras mounted with 50 mm lenses and several
rolls of spare film. Capa took 106 pictures in the first couple of
hours of the invasion. However, a staff member at Life made a
mistake in the darkroom; he set the dryer too high and melted the
emulsion in the negatives. Only eleven frames in total were
Although a fifteen-year-old lab assistant named Dennis Banks was
responsible for the accident, another account, now largely accepted
as untrue but which gained widespread currency, blamed Larry
Burrows, who worked in the lab not as a technician but as a
"tea-boy". Life magazine printed 10 of the frames in its June 19,
1944 issue with captions that described the footage as "slightly out
of focus", explaining that Capa's hands were shaking in the
excitement of the moment (something which he denied). Capa used this
phrase as the title of his alternately hilarious and sad
autobiographical account of the war, Slightly Out of Focus.
In 1947 Capa traveled into the Soviet Union with his friend, writer
John Steinbeck. He took photos in Moscow, Kiev, Tbilisi, Batumi and
among the ruins of Stalingrad. The humorous reportage of Steinbeck,
A Russian Journal was illustrated with Capa's photos. It was first
published in 1948.
In 1947, Capa founded Magnum Photos with Henri Cartier-Bresson,
William Vandivert, David Seymour, and George Rodger. In 1951, he
became the president.
In the early 1950s, Capa traveled to Japan for an exhibition
associated with Magnum Photos. While there, Life magazine asked him
to go on assignment to Southeast Asia, where the French had been
fighting for eight years in the First Indochina War. Despite the
fact he had sworn not to photograph another war a few years earlier,
Capa accepted and accompanied a French regiment with two other
Time-Life journalists, John Mecklin and Jim Lucas. On May 25, 1954
at 2:55 p.m., the regiment was passing through a dangerous area
under fire when Capa decided to leave his jeep and go up the road to
photograph some of the advance. About five minutes later, Mecklin
and Lucas heard a loud explosion. Capa had stepped on a landmine.
When they arrived on the scene he was still alive, but his left leg
had been blown to pieces and he had a serious wound in his chest.
Mecklin screamed for a medic and Capa's body was taken to a small
field hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He had died
with his camera in his hand.
ROBERT CAPA. Normandy
Invasion, June 6,1944.
Gelatin silver print.
W. EUGENE SMITH. Marines under
Fire, Saipan, 1943.
Gelatin silver print.
DAVID DOUGLAS DUNCAN. "Black Avni" Turkish Cavalry on Maneuvers, 1948.
Gelatin silver print. Collection Nina Abrams, New York.
DAVID DOUGLAS DUNCAN
David Douglas Duncan (born January
23, 1916) is an American photojournalist and among the most
influential photographers of the 20th Century. He is best known for
his dramatic combat photographs.
Duncan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, where his childhood was
marked with interest in the outdoors, which helped him obtain the
rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts at a relatively young age.
Duncan briefly attended the University of Arizona, where he studied
archaeology. While in Tucson, he inadvertently photographed John
Dillinger trying to get into a hotel. Duncan eventually continued
his education at the University of Miami, where he graduated in
1938, having studied zoology and Spanish. It was in Miami that his
interest in photojournalism piqued. He served as picture editor and
photographer of the university paper.
His career as a photojournalist had its origin when he took
photographs of a hotel fire in Tucson, Arizona where he was then
studying archaeology at the University of Arizona. His photos
included one of a hotel guest who made repeated attempts to go back
into the burning building for his suitcase. That photo proved to be
newsworthy when the guest turned out to have been notorious bank
robber John Dillinger and the suitcase to have contained the
proceeds of a bank robbery in which he had shot a police officer.
After college, Duncan was commissioned as an officer in the US
Marines and became a combat photographer. After brief postings in
California and Hawaii, he was sent to the South Pacific on
assignment when the United States entered World War II. Though
combat photographers are often close to the action, they rarely
fight. However, in a brief engagement at Bougainville Island, Duncan
found himself fighting against the Japanese. Duncan would later be
on board the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender.
His war time photographs were so impressive that, after the war, he
was hired by Life to join their staff upon the urging of J.R.
Eyerman, Life's chief photographer. During his time with Life he
covered many events including the end of the British Raj in India
and conflicts in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Perhaps his most famous photographs were taken during the Korean
War. He compiled many of his photos into a book called This Is War!
(1951), with the proceeds going to widows and children of Marines
who had been killed in the conflict. Duncan is considered to be the
most prominent combat photographer of the Korean War.
In the Vietnam War, Duncan would eventually compile two additional
books I Protest! (1968) and War Without Heroes (1970). Here, Duncan
stepped out of his role as a neutral photographer and challenged how
the US government was handling the war.
Aside from his combat photographs, Duncan is also known for his
photographs of Pablo Picasso to whom he had been introduced by
fellow photographer Robert Capa. Eventually, he was to publish seven
books of photographs of Picasso.
In 1966 he published Yankee Nomad a visual autobiography that
collected representative photographs from throughout his career. In
2003 this was revised and published under the title of Photo Nomad.
DAVID DOUGLAS DUNCAN. Pablo Picasso
ROMANO CAGNONI. East Pakistan:
Villagers Welcoming Liberation Forces, 1971,
Gelatin silver print.
DONALD McCULLIN. Congolese
Soldiers Ill-Treating Prisoners Awaiting Death in Stanleyville,
Gelatin silver print.
GALINA SANKO. Fallen German
Soldiers on Russian Front, 1941.
Gelatin silver print. Sovfoto Magazine and VAAP, Moscow.
Identifying the Dead, Russian Front, 1942.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Citizen Exchange Council, New York.
ALBERT and JEAN SEEBURGER.
Exchange of Fire at the Place de la Concorde, 1944.
Gelatin silver print. Zabriskic Gallery, New York.
Photographs reproduced in Life,
Look, and other picture journals from 1936 on were by no means
solely concerned with war and destruction. The peripatetic
photojournalist, pictured in a self-portrait by Andreas Feininger as
an odd-looking creature of indeterminate sex, age, and nationality
with camera lenses for eyes, roamed widely during the
mid-century flowering of print journalism. Through photographs,
readers of picture weeklies became more conscious of the immensity
of human resources and of the varied forms of social conduct in
remote places of the globe, even though these cultures ordinarily
were seen from the point of view of Western capitalist society.
Readers also were introduced to the
immensely useful role played by photographs of the scientific
aspects of ani-mal and terrestrial life. By including the
rnicrophotographs by Roman Vishniac and Fritz Goro (both emigres to
the United States from Hitler's Germany), as well as views taken
through telescopes and from airborne vehicles, the magazine expanded
knowledge of the sciences generally and provided arresting visual
imagery in monochrome and color, which helped prepare the public to
accept similar visual abstractions in artistic photography.
In its efforts to encompass global
happenings, Life included picture stories of the Soviet Union. Taken
by Bourke-White, they brought American magazine readers their first
glimpse of a largely unknown society. Later, the mysteries of
existence in more remote places were revealed by an array of
photographers, including the Swiss photo-journalists Werner Bischof,
Rene Burri, and Ernst Haas and the French
photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Marc Riboud, all of whom
aimed their cameras at life in the Far East. Outstanding images of
the hinterlands of South America and India were contributed by
Bischof, and of subequatorial Africa by Cagnoni, Rodger, Lennart
Nilsson, and, in the 1960s, McCullin. With the need
for photographic essays expanding rapidly, picture agencies became
even more significant dian before, leading to the establishment of
new enterprises in the field, including a number of photographers'
collaboratives. The best known, Magnum, was founded in 1947 by
Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Chim, and Rodger. Gathering bits and
pieces of lively "color," these post-war photoreporters and their
editors reflected the popular yearning in the West for "one world,"
an understandable response to the divisiveness of the war. The
stability of tradition seen in Constantine Manos's image of Greek
villagers pulling a boat and the starding contrast of
old and new in BischoPs India: Jamshedpur Steel Factory are but two examples of recurrent themes. Editors and
photographers working for periodicals seemed to agree with the
pronouncement that "the most important service photography can
render" is to record human relations and "explain man to man" and
man to himself. This benign idea, which ignored political and social
antagonism on both domestic and foreign fronts, was the theme of The
Family of Man, a highly praised exhibition and publication
consisting largely of journalistic images. Organized by Edward Steichen in 1955, shortly after he became director of the Department
of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the
exhibition comprised 508 photographs from 68 countries, treated as
if in a three-dimensional picture magazine— enlarged, reduced, and
fitted into a layout designed by Steichen in collaboration with
photographer Wayne Miller and architect Paul Rudolph, ostensibly to
celebrate the "essential oneness of mankind throughout the world."
Photographers whose work was displayed in The Family of Man had no
control over size, quality of print (all were processed in
commercial laboratories), or the context in which their work was
shown, an approach that Steichen had adopted from prevailing
An essential aspect often
overlooked in photojournalism has been the relationship between
editorial policy and the individual photographer, especially in
stories dealing with sensitive issues. Whereas underlying humanist
attitudes sometimes provide a common ground for editor and
photographer, the latter still has to submit to editorial decisions
regarding selection, cropping, and captioning. That the
photographer's intended meaning might be neutralized or perverted by
lack of sufficient time to explore less accessible facets of the
situation or by editorial intervention in the sequencing and
captioning is illustrated by Smith's experiences at Life. His
numerous picture essays— of which "Spanish Village", photographed in 1950 and published on April 19, 1951, is an
example— gave Life a vivid yet compassionate dimension, but the
photographer's battle for enough time to shoot and for control over
the way his work was used was continual, ending with Smith's
resignation in 1954.
Toward the mid-1960s, as
newsmagazines went out of business or used fewer stories, it became
apparent that photojournalism in print was being supplanted by
electronic pictures—by television. In 1967, the Fund for Concerned
Photography (later the International Center of Photography) was
founded to recognize the contributions made by humanistic journalism
during the heyday of the picture weeklies. This endeavor, initiated
by Cornell Capa brother of Robert and himself a freelance
photojournalist of repute), celebrated the efforts of "concerned
photographers"—initially Bischof, Robert Capa, Leonard Freed,
Kertesz, Chim, and Dan Weiner—to link photo-journalistic images with
the humanistic social documentary tradition established by Jacob
Riis, Lewis Hine, and the Farm Security Administration
photographers. Involving exhibitions, publications, and an
educational wing, the center has since broadened its activities to
include photographers whose humanism reveals itself through images
of artifacts and nature.
RENE BURRI. Tien An Men
Square, Beijing, 1965.
Gelatin silver print.
ANDREAS FEININGER. The
Gelatin silver print.
Andreas Bernhard Lyonel Feininger
(27 December 1906 - 18 February 1999) was a French-born American
photographer, and writer on photographic technique, noted for his
dynamic black-and-white scenes of Manhattan and studies of the
structure of natural objects.
Born in Paris, France, from an American family of German origin. His
father, painter Lyonel Feininger, was born in New York City, in
1871. His great-grandfather emigrated from Durlach, Baden, in
Germany, towards United States in 1848.
Feininger grew up and was educated as an architect in Germany, where
his father painted and taught at Bauhaus. In 1936, he gave up
architecture itself, moved to Sweden, and focused on photography. In
advance of World War II, in 1939, Feininger immigrated to the U.S.
where he established himself as a freelance photographer and in 1943
joined the staff of Life magazine, an association that lasted until
Feininger became famous for his photographs of New York. Science and
nature, as seen in bones, shells, plants and minerals, were other
frequent subjects, but rarely did he photograph people or make
portraits. Feininger wrote comprehensive manuals about photography,
of which the best known is The Complete Photographer. In the
introduction to one of Feininger's books of photographs, Ralph
Hattersley described him as "one of the great architects who helped
create photography as we know it today." In 1966, the American
Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) awarded Feininger its highest
distinction, the Robert Leavitt Award. In 1991, the International
Center of Photography awarded Feininger the Infinity Lifetime
CONSTANTINE MANOS. Beaching a
Fishing Boat, Karpathos, Greece, c. 1965.
Gelatin silver print.
WERNER BISCHOF. India:
Jamshedpur Steel Factory, 1951.
Gelatin silver print.
Small-Camera Photography in the
Initially devoted to conveying fact
and psychological nuance in news events, the small camera began to
appeal to European photographers as an instrument of perceptive
personal expression as well. Indeed, the photographs made by Kertesz
and Cartier-Bresson during the 1930s suggest that it is not always
possible to separate self-motivated from assigned work in terms of
style and treatment. Kertesz saw his work exhibited as art
photography at the same time that was being reproduced in
periodicals in Germany and France. What is more, his unusual
sensitivity to moments of intense feeling and his capacity to
organize the elements of a scene into an arresting visual structure
(see Chapter 9) inspired both Cartier-Bresson and Brassai (Gyula
Halasz) in their choices of theme and treatment.
photography, whether made for himself or in the course of
assignments for Vu and other periodicals, with intellectual and
artistic attitudes summed up in his concept of the "decisive
moment." This way of working requires an interrelationship of eye,
body, and mind that intuitively recognizes the moment when formal
and psychological elements within the visual field take on enriched
meanings. For example, in Place de l'Europe, Paris one
recognizes the ordinary and somewhat humorous gesture of a hurrying
person trying to avoid wetting his feet in a street flood, but the
picture also involves a visual pun about shadow and substance, life
and art. It illustrates (though it hardly exhausts) the
photographer's claim that "photography is the simultaneous
recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an
event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give the
event its proper expression."
Brassai, a former painting student
transplanted from Hungary to Paris in 1923, found himself mesmerized
by the city at night and, on Kertesz's suggestion, began to use a
camera (a 6.5 x 9 cm Voigtlander Bergheil) to capture the nocturnal
life at bars, brothels, and on the streets. By turns piquant,
satiric, and enigmatic, Brassai's images for this project display a
sensitive handling of light and atmosphere, whether of
fog-enshrouded avenues or harshly illuminated bars, and they reveal the photographer's keen sense for the
moment when gesture and expression add a poignant dimension to the
Interesting in comparison with the
subtle suggestive-ness of Brassai's voyeurism evident in Pat-is de
Nuit (Paris by Night) (1933) is the stridency of the images included
in Naked City, a 1936 publication of photographs, many made at
night, by the American photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig). This
brash but observant freelance news-paper photographer, who pursued
sensationalist news stories with a large press camera, approached
scenes of everyday life—and of violence and death—with uncommon
feeling and wit. Exemplified by The Critic (pi. no. 624), his work
transcends the superficial character of most daily photoreportage.
Virtually all subsequent 35mm
photography was influenced by Carrier-Bresson's formulation of the
"decisive moment." In France, heirs to this concept include Robert
Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Izis (Bidermanas), and Edouard Boubat—all
active photojournalists during the 1940s and later, whose individual
styles express their unique sensibilities. Doisneau, who gave up a
career in commercial and fashion photography late in 1940 to devote
himself to depicting life in the street, has brought a delightful
and humane humor to his goal of celebrating individuality in the
face of encroaching standardization of product and behavior. The work of Ronis and Izis is lyrical and
romantic, while Boubafs images, made during the course of numerous
assignments in foreign countries for Realties and Paris Match, are
tender and touching.
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Place
de I'Europe, Paris, 1932.
Gelatin silver print.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22,
1908 – August 3, 2004) was a French photographer considered to be
the father of modern photojournalism, an early adopter of 35 mm
format, and the master of candid photography. He helped develop the
"street photography" style that has influenced generations of
photographers that followed.
Cartier-Bresson was born in Chanteloup-en-Brie, near Paris, France,
the eldest of five children. His father was a wealthy textile
manufacturer whose Cartier-Bresson thread was a staple of French
sewing kits. He also sketched in his spare time. His mother's family
were cotton merchants and landowners from Normandy, where he spent
part of his childhood. The Cartier-Bresson family lived in a
bourgeois neighborhood in Paris, near the Europe Bridge, and
provided him with financial support to develop his interests in
photography in a more independent manner than many of his
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Henri
Matisse, Vence, 1944.
Gelatin silver print.
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Sunday
on the Banks of the Marne, 1938.
Gelatin silver print.
BRASSAI. Avenue de
I'Observatoire (Paris in the Fog at Night), 1934.
Gelatin silver print. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Warner
Communications, Inc., Purchase Fund, 1980.
(b Brasso, Transylvania, Hungary
[now Romania], 9 Sept 1899; d Nice, 8 July 1984).
French photographer, draughtsman,
sculptor and writer of Hungarian birth. The son of a Hungarian
professor of French literature, he lived in Paris in 1903–4 while
his father was on sabbatical there, and this early experience of the
city greatly impressed him. In 1917 he met the composer Bйla Bartуk,
and from 1918 to 1919 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in
Budapest. Due to the hostility between Hungary and France in World
War I he was unable to study in France and so moved to Berlin in
late 1920. There he became acquainted with Lбszlу Moholy-Nagy,
Kandinsky and Kokoschka and in 1921–2 attended the Akademische
Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin. He was a keen draughtsman and
while there produced a series of characteristic drawings of nudes
executed in an angular, emphatic style. In 1924 he moved to Paris,
where he quickly became involved with the artists and poets of the
Montmartre and Montparnasse districts while supporting himself as a
journalist. In 1925 he adopted the name Brassaп, derived from that
of his native town, and throughout that year he continued drawing as
well as making sculptures. In 1926 he met Andrй Kertйsz, who
introduced him to photography. In 1930 Brassaп began taking
photographs of Paris at night, concentrating on its architecture and
the nocturnal activities of its inhabitants. These were collected
and published as Paris de nuit in 1933 and showed the night workers,
cafйs, brothels, theatres, streets and buildings of the capital. The
artificial lighting created strong tonal contrasts, lending the
images a strikingly evocative beauty. Some of his photographs were
included in the exhibition Modern European Photographers at the
Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1932, and the following year at
the Arts et Mйtiers Graphiques in Paris he had a one-man show of his
photographs of Paris, which travelled to the Batsford Gallery in
London the same year.
BRASSAI. Bijou, Paris, c.
Gelatin silver print. Marlborough Gallery, New York.
WEEGEE (ARTHUR FELLIG). The
Critic (Opening Night at the Opera), 1943.
Gelatin silver print. Museum of Modern Art, New York.
WEEGEE (ARTHUR FELLIG)
(b Zloczew, Austria [now Poland],
12 June 1899; d New York, 26 Dec 1968).
American photographer of Austrian
birth. He emigrated to the USA in 1910 and took numerous odd jobs,
including working as an itinerant photographer and as an assistant
to a commercial photographer. In 1924 he was hired as a dark-room
technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International
Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance
photographer. He worked at night and competed with the police to be
first at the scene of a crime, selling his photographs to tabloids
and photographic agencies. It was at this time that he earned the
name Weegee (appropriated from the Ouija board) for his uncanny
ability to make such early appearances at scenes of violence and
ROBERT DOISNEAU. Three
Children in the Park, 1971.
Gelatin silver print.
(b Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, 14 April
1912; d Paris, 1 April 1994).
French photographer. He attended
the Ecole Estienne in Paris (1926–9), where he studied engraving,
and after leaving the school he had various jobs designing engraved
labels and other items. He found his training of little use,
however, and soon began to experiment with photography, teaching
himself the techniques. In 1931 he worked as an assistant to the
photographer Andrй Vigneau. The following year Doisneau’s series of
photographs of a flea market in Paris was published in the
periodical Excelsior. His early photographs have many of the
features of his mature works: for example the seeming unawareness of
the camera shown by the people in Sunday Painter (1932; ) and the
comic subject both add to the photograph’s charm, a quality Doisneau
valued greatly. In 1934 he obtained a job as an industrial
photographer at the Renault factory in Billancourt, Paris, where he
was required to take photographs of the factory interior and its
machines as well as advertising shots of the finished cars. In the
summer of 1939 he was dismissed for being repeatedly late and then
worked briefly for the Rapho photographic agency in Paris, producing
more photographs of the capital.
IZIS. Place St. Andre des
Arts, Paris, 1949.
Gelatin silver print. Zabriskie Gallery, New York.
EDOUARD BOUBAT. Portugal,
Gelatin silver print. Private collection.
A change in attitude toward the
photographic print as a visual artifact accompanied the developments
discussed so far. Many photographers, Brandt, Brassai, and
Cartier-Bresson among them, refused to consider the photographs they
produced as aesthetic objects despite the aesthetic judgments they
obviously exercised in making them. The idea, promoted by
individuals such as Paul Strand or Edward Weston, that the single
print or small edition, sensitively crafted in the individual
photographer's dark-room, constituted the paramount standard in
expressive photography was challenged when these photographers began
to use professional laboratories to process negatives and make
prints. With the separation of the act of seecing from the craft of
making, there emerged a new aesthetic posture that accepted grainy
textures, limited tonal scale, and strong, often harsh contrasts as
qualities intrinsic to the photographic medium. This development
broughtimages originally meant for reproduction in periodicals into
prominence as aesthetic objects—suitable for savoring in books,
hanging on walls, or collecting.
Public acceptance of
photojournalism influenced the publication of full-length works
combining words and pictures. Aside from the elegant, expensive
books and portfolios that carried on the tradition of illustrating
texts with original photographs, collotypes, or Woodburytypes
(discussed in earlier chapters), publishers on both sides of the
Atlantic and in Japan during the 1930s and 1940s increasingly used
gravure, offset lithography, and halftone plates to reproduce
photographs. Frequently organized around popular themes, books such
as the several volumes on arts and monuments illustrated by Pierre
Jahan treated image and text in a manner similar to that found in
the essays in picture magazines. Starting in the 1950s, when
photojournalistic as well as artistic photographs began to appear
more frequently on gallery and museum walls and in collections,
publishers seemed more willing to issue books in which the
photographs were their own justification. Almost 25 years separate
The World Is Beautiful (1928), by Albert Renger-Patzsch, from
Carrier-Bresson's Images a la sauvette (The Decisive Moment) (1952),
and in addition to revealing their photographers' antithetical
aesthetic ideas and ways of working, the two books represent
somewhat different attitudes toward the purpose of photography
books. The earlier work utilizes the photograph to point the reader
toward concordances of form in nature and industry, whereas The
Decisive Moment refers to the intervention of the individual
photographer's hand and eye to reveal what Carder-Bresson called "a
rhythm in the world of real things." The commercial success of The
Decisive Moment indicated to publishers that photogra-phers images
were marketable, and this helped encourage a large literature on and
about the medium. From the 1960s on, many more tides in photography
appeared, issued by such specialized publishers as Aperture and
David R. Godine in the United States, and Teriade, Delpire, and
later, Creatis and Schirmer Mosel in Europe, several of whom also
issued periodicals and works on the aesthetics of the medium.
Pictures in Print: Advertising
It would be difficult to imagine a
world without advertising and ads without photographs, but the
importance of camera images in this context was not widely
recognized before the 1920s. The advertising field itself was young
then, and the problems and expense of halftone reproduction
effectively limited the use of photographs to sell goods and
services. Nor were the visual possibilities of transforming factual
camera records into images of seductive suggestibility clearly
foreseen. But during the early 1920s the situation began to change.
The British journal Commercial Art and Industry noted in 1923 that
photography had become "so inexpensive and good" that it should be
used more often in ads, and the American trade magazine Printers'
Ink pointed out the "astounding improvement in papers, presses and
inks." Six years later, die prestigious German printing-arts
magazine Gebrauchsgraphik prophesied that the photograph would soon
dominate advertising communication and "present an extraordinarily
fruitful field to the gifted artist" because whether distorted or
truthful., camera images are grounded in reality and are
consequently persuasive to buyers. By 1929, advertising had become
"the agent of new processes of thought and creation," and
photographs would play a central role in this creative upsurge.
The new attitudes were the result
of a number of factors. As indicated in the preceding chapter,
public taste after World War I tended toward styles that suggested
objectivity rather than sentimentality; a popular appetite for
machine-made rather than handmade objects had developed; and delight
in the cinema as a form of visual communication predisposed the
public to accept still photographs in advertising. Most important,
the realization that the camera could be both factual and persuasive
and could imply authenticity while suggesting certain
qualities—manliness, femininity, luxury—made it a desirable tool in
this fast-growing and competitive field. In a Utopian effort to make
excellence available to all by wiping out the distinctions between
fine and applied art and between art and the utilitarian object,
Bauhaus and Constructivist artists and photographers had promoted
the camera image as a means of transcending these traditional
divisions. As a result, many photographers in the 1920s began to
ignore the division between self-expression and commercial work that
the Pictorialists had been at pains to establish around the turn of
the century. The advertising industry in all advanced capitalist
countries embraced these concepts from the art world and also
predicted that advertising would improve the aesthetic taste of the
populace by integrating the latest modern ideas into visual
During the 1930s, many
photographers of stature produced images for commerce. Herbert
Bayer, Cecil Beaton, Laure Albin-Guillot, Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, Paul
Outerbridge, Charles Sheeler, Steichen, and Maurice Tabard were
among those eager to work on commission for magazines, advertising
agencies, and manufacturers at the same time that they photographed
for themselves and were honored as creative individuals by critics.
A number — including Hans Finsler, Bourke-White, Anton Bruehl,
Victor Keppler, and Nickolas Muray—worked almost exclusively in the
advertising field, convinced that they were making a creative
contribution to photography in addition to selling products. In the
Far East, Japanese commercial photographers kept abreast of the
modernist style, employing close-ups, angled shots, and montages,
exemplified by Smile Eye-Drops), a 1930 ad by Kiyoshi Koishi third-place winner in the First Annual Advertising
Photography Exhibition held in Japan in that year.
This honeymoon between photographer
and commercial patron was relatively short-lived. Even though
Steichen thought such patronage to be the equivalent of the Medici's
support for Renaissance artists, "the purely material subject
matter" with which most advertising photographers had to deal could
not be considered comparable to Renaissance religion and philosophy,
as Outerbridge observed. Nevertheless, commercial commissions have
continued to make a substantial impact on photography, affecting not
only the kinds of images produced and the taste of the public but
also, to some extent, the materials on the market with which all
photographers must work.
Sources and influences in
advertising photography are difficult to sort out because from the
start Americans and Europeans looked to each other for inspiration,
with Europeans envious of the munificence of advertising bud-gets on
this side of the Atlantic and Americans aware of the greater freedom
for experimentation in Europe. However, no matter where they were
produced, the most visually arresting images reflect the ascendant
stylistic tendencies in the visual arts in general. One wellspring
in the United States was the Clarence White School of Photography.
Its curriculum is only now being studied, but its significant
contribution to the modernization of advertising photography can be
seen in the roll call of faculty and students who became active in
die field during the 1920s and '30s. Bruehl, Bourke -White,
Outerbridge, Ralph Steiner, and Margaret Watkins translated the
design precepts taught in the school into serviceable modernistic
imagery, as can be seen in an image for an ad prepared by Watkins in
1925 for the J. Walter Thompson Agency.
KIYOSHI KOISHI. Smile
MARGARET WATKINS. Phenix
Cheese (for J. Walter Thompson), 1925.
Gelatin silver print. Light Gallery, New York.
As might be expected, the style
associated with the New Objectivity, with its emphasis on "the thing
itself," was of paramount interest. Finsler in Germany, Tabard and
the Studio Deberney-Peignot in France, and Steichen in the United
States all realized (as did others) that the close-up served as an
excellent vehicle to concentrate attention on intrinsic material
qualities and to eliminate extraneous matters. One consequence of
this emphasis, as an article on advertising photography in the late
1930s noted, is that "the softness of velvet appears even richer and
deeper than it actually is and iron becomes even harder"; in
addition, lighting and arrangement were further manipulated to
glamorize the product. Nor were close-ups limited to inanimate still
lifes or the products of machines; a view of hands engaged in the
precise task of threading a needle, photographed by Bruehl as part of a campaign for men's suits, was meant to suggest
the care, quality, and handwork (still a sign of luxury goods) that
ostensibly went into this line of men's wear. The provocative nature
of bizarre imagery for advertising also was recognized. French
commercial photographer Lucien Lorelle suggested that it provided
the "shock" needed to "give birth to the acquisitive desire."
Startling views of ordinary objects were obtained by selecting
extreme angles, by using abstract light patterns, and by montaging
disparate objects. Just before 1930, photograms found their way into
European advertising in works by Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, and Piet
Zwart, which were pro-duced for an electrical concern, an optical
manufacturer, and a radio company, respectively. Montages by Finsler
and Bayer were used to sell chocolate and machinery, while distorted
views of writing ink by Lissitzky for Pelikan and of automobile
tires by Tabard for Michclin were considered acceptable. Americans,
on the other hand, were warned away from excessive distortion.
Product pictures by Bruehl, Muray, Outerbridge,
Steichen, and Ralph Steiner are
essentially precise still lifes of recognizable objects. Even the
dramatic angles chosen by Bourke-White to convey the sweep and power
of large-scale American industrial machinery were selected with
regard for the clarity of the forms being presented. Eventually,
when montages and multiple images did enter American advertising
vocabulary, these techniques were used for fashion and celebrity
images and only after World War II for more prosaic consumer goods.
Most advertising images in the
United States (and elsewhere) were not conceived in the modernist
idiom by any means. Heavily retouched, banal photographic
illustrations filled the mail-order catalogs issued by Sears,
Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, while the advertising pages of popular
magazines and trade journals were full of ordinary and often silly
or sentimental concoctions. However, some very competent work was
done by individuals working in an old-fashioned vein. The highly
acclaimed arrangements photographed by Lejaren a Hiller required historically researched costumes and construction of
sets in addition to careful attention to lighting. While technically
a photograph, tableaux such as Surgery Through the Ages, part of a campaign for a pharmaceutical company, are really
forerunners of contemporary video advertising in that they rely on
theatrical and dramatic content rather than aesthetic means to get
their message across.
After the second World War, a
number of photo-journalists continued to be involved with an amalgam
of advertising imagery and journalistic reporting that had made its
initial appearance in the feature sections of Fortune in the 1930s.
Even during the nadir of the Depression, articles illustrated with
well-reproduced, stylish photo-graphs and signed artwork "sold" the
positive aspects of the American corporate structure; indeed,
Bourke-White felt that "the grandeur of industry," which she
pictured for Fortune's pages, exerted the same appeal on
manufacturer and photographer alike. While she herself revised this
opinion, and later photojournalists may not have been as sanguine
about the benefits of large-scale industrial enterprises,
photographing for the broad range of print media that emerged after
the war made it necessary for photographers to present "clear,
coherent and vivid" pictures of business activities. As a result,
the glossy corporate image that appears in annual reports in the
guise of photojournalistic reporting has come down as one of the
legacies of photojournalism to advertising and an example of the
difficulties in categorizing contemporary photographs.
An important aspect of the alluring
quality of current advertising images is the use of color. By 1925,
according to the British graphic arts magazine Penrose's Annual, the
public had come to expect "coloured covers and illustrations [in]
... books and magazines . . . posters . . . showcards . . .
catalogues, booklets and all forms of commercial advertising." Even
so, the desire for such materials did not immediately produce
accurate and inexpensive color images on film or printed page; it
was not until the late 1930s that both amateurs and professionals
obtained negatives, positive transparencies, and prints with the
capacity to render a seductive range of values and colors in natural
and artificial light. Even
though these materials were flawed by their impermanence—as they
still are—such means were acceptable because their use in print
media satisfied the public craving for color.
A method commonly used to create
color images for advertisements during the Depression was the
tri-chrome/carbro print, made from separation negatives produced in
a repeating-back camera such as the Ives Kromskop. Based on the
addition of dyes to gelatin carbon printing methods, carbro printing
was a highly complicated procedure involving as many as 80 different
steps; but despite the expense and the special facilities required,
it flourished because "the commercial aspects of color were as
important as the aesthetic or technical angles" in determining the
kind of color work that publishers and agencies, competing for a
limited market, favored. Conde Nast was one of die first publishers
to print the richly hued advertising photographs by Bruehl and
Fernand Bourges in Vogue in 1932. In the mid-1930s, the
Bruehl-Bourges studio did color work for a range of product
manufacturers reading like a veritable who's who of American
corporations, while Will Connell, Lejaren a Hiller, Keppler, Muray,
Outerbridge, Valentine Sarra, and H. I. Williams also were active in
working out eye-catching spectrums for ads for food,
fashion, and manufactured goods that appeared in House Beautiful and
There can be little argument that
in modern capitalist societies the camera has proved to be an
absolutely indispensable tool for the makers of consumer goods, for
those involved with public relations and for those who sell ideas
and services. Camera images have been able to make invented
"realities" seem not at all fraudulent and have permitted viewers to
suspend disbelief while remaining aware that the scene has been
contrived." The availability of sophisticated materials and
apparatus, of good processing facilities, and the fact that large
numbers of proficient photographers graduate yearly from art schools
and technical institutions, combined with the generous budgets
allocated for advertising, guarantee a high level of excellence in
contemporary advertising images. As in the
past, the photographs deemed exceptional often reflect current
stylistic ideas embraced in the arts as a whole and in personally
expressive photography in particular; indeed, the dividing line
between styles in advertising and in personal expression can be a
thin one, with a number of prominent figures working with equal
facility in both areas.
The imagination that inspired early
enthusiasts (such as Brodoviteh) to foresee in advertising a great
creative force is less evident in contemporary advertising
photography. Whether picturing industrial equipment or luxury goods,
the fact is that for the most part the style and con-tent of such
images are controlled by the manufacturer and ad agency, and not by
the individual photographer. Designed to attract the greatest number
of viewers, there is little compass for personal approach, while the
images that are considered exceptional tend to generate considerable
emulation. The bland sameness that characterizes the field has been
more true of advertising imagery in the United States than in
Europe, owing to the larger budgets and greater role that
advertising plays in American life, but it also reflects the fact
that in the past there was more leeway in Europe for visual
experimentation in applied photography and graphic design.
ANTON BRUEHL. Hands Threading
a Needle (Weber and Heilbroner Advertising Campaign), c. 1929.
Gelatin silver print. International Museum of Photography,
NICKOLAS MURAY. Still Life,
Reproduced in McCall's Magazine. Carbro (assembly) print.
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House,
Nickolas Muray (15 February 1892 -
2 November 1965) was a Hungarian-born American photographer.
Muray attended a graphic arts school in Budapest, where he studied
lithography, photoengraving, and photography. After earning an
International Engraver's Certificate, Muray took a three-year course
in color photoengraving in Berlin, where, among other things, he
learned to make color filters. At the end of his course he went to
work for the publishing company Ullstein. In 1913, with the threat
of war in Europe, Muray sailed to New York City, and was able to
find work as a color printer in Brooklyn.
By 1920, Muray had opened a portrait studio at his home in Greenwich
Village, while still working at his union job as an engraver. In
1921 he received a commission from Harper's Bazaar to do a portrait
of the Broadway actor Florence Reed; soon after he was having
photographs published each month in Harper's Bazaar, and was able to
give up his engraving job.
Muray quickly became recognized as an important portrait
photographer, and his subjects included most of the celebrities of
New York City. In 1926, Vanity Fair sent Muray to London, Paris, and
Berlin to photograph celebrities, and in 1929 hired him to
photograph movie stars in Hollywood. He also did fashion and
advertising work. Muray's images were published in many other
publications, including Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, and The New
Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits.
His 1938's portrait of Frida Kahlo, made while Kahlo sojourned in
New York, attending her exhibit at the Julien Levy Gallery, became
the best known and loved portrait made by Muray. Muray and Kahlo
were at the height of a ten-year love affair in 1939 when the
portrait was made. Their affair had started in 1931, after Muray was
divorced from his second wife and shortly after Kahlo's marriage to
Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera. It outlived Muray's third
marriage and Kahlo's divorce and remarriage to Rivera by one year,
ending in 1941. Muray wanted to marry, but when it became apparent
that Kahlo wanted Muray as a lover, not a husband, Muray took his
leave for good and married his fourth wife. He and Kahlo remained
good friends until her death, in 1954.
After the market crash, Murray turned away from celebrity and
theatrical portraiture, and become a pioneering commercial
photographer, famous for his creation of many of the conventions of
color advertising. He was considered the master or the carbro
process. His last important public portraits were of Dwight David
Eisenhower in the 1950s.
NICKOLAS MURAY. Camel cigarettes, Girl in pool, 1936
LEJAREN A HILLER. Hugh of
Lucca (d. 1251) from the Surgery Through the Ages Series,
(Pharmaceutical advertising campaign) 1937.
Gelatin silver print. Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, N.Y.
JAY MAISEL. United
Advertisement. Art Director, Gordon Bowman. Copywriters,
Gordon Bowman/Christine Rothenberg.
RICHARD AVEDON. The Veiled
Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 –
October 1, 2004) was an American photographer. Avedon was able to
take his early success in fashion photography and expand it into the
realm of fine art.
Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish-Russian family. After
briefly attending Columbia University, he started as a photographer
for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of
the crewmen with his Rolleiflex camera given to him by his father as
a going-away present. In 1944, he began working as an advertising
photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by
Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine
Harper's Bazaar. In 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began
providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life. He soon
became the chief photographer for Harper's Bazaar. Avedon did not
conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photographs,
where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the
camera. Instead, Avedon showed models full of emotion, smiling,
laughing, and, many times, in action.
In 1966, Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to work as a staff photographer
for Vogue magazine. In addition to his continuing fashion work,
Avedon began to branch out and photographed patients of mental
hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the
Vietnam War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
During this period Avedon also created two famous sets of portraits
of The Beatles. The first, taken in mid to late 1967, became one of
the first major rock poster series, and consisted of five striking
psychedelic portraits of the group — four heavily solarised
individual colour portraits (solarisation of prints by his
assistant, Gideon Lewin, retouching by Bob Bishop) and a
black-and-white group portrait taken with a Rolleiflex camera and a
normal Planar lens. The next year he photographed the much more
restrained portraits that were included with The White Album in
Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the
personality and soul of its subject. As his reputation as a
photographer became widely known, he brought in many famous faces to
his studio and photographed them with a large-format 8x10 view
camera. His portraits are easily distinguished by their minimalist
style, where the person is looking squarely in the camera, posed in
front of a sheer white background. Among the many rock bands
photographed by Avedon, in 1973 he shot Electric Light Orchestra
with all the members exposing their bellybuttons for recording, On
the Third Day.
He is also distinguished by his large prints, sometimes measuring
over three feet in height. His large-format portrait work of
drifters, miners, cowboys and others from the western United States
became a best-selling book and traveling exhibit entitled In the
American West, and is regarded as an important hallmark in 20th
Century portrait photography, and by some as Avedon's magnum opus.
Commissioned by the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, it was
a six-year project Avedon embarked on in 1979, that produced 125
portraits of people in the American west who caught Avedon's eye.
Avedon was drawn to working people such as miners and oil field
workers in their soiled work clothes, unemployed drifters, and
teenagers growing up in the West circa 1979-84. When first published
and exhibited, In the American West was criticized for showing what
some considered to be a disparaging view of America. Avedon was also
lauded for treating his subjects with the attention and dignity
usually reserved for the politically powerful and celebrities. Laura
Wilson served as Avedon's assistant during the creation of In the
American West and in 2003 published a photo book documenting the
experiences, Avedon at Work, In the American West.
Avedon became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker in
1992. He has won many awards for his photography, including the
International Center of Photography Master of Photography Award in
1993, the Prix Nadar in 1994 for his photobook Evidence, and the
Royal Photographic Society 150th Anniversary Medal in 2003.
In 1944, Avedon married Dorcas
Nowell, who later became a model and was known professionally as Doe
Avedon. Nowell and Avedon divorced after five years of marriage. In
1951, he married Evelyn Franklin; their marriage produced one son,
John. Avedon and Franklin also later divorced.
Martial arts movie star Loren Avedon is the nephew of Richard Avedon.
On October 1, 2004, he suffered a brain hemorrhage in San Antonio,
Texas while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker. At the time
of his death, Avedon was working on a new project titled On
Democracy to focus on the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential
Hollywood presented a fictional
account of his early career in the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring
Fred Astaire as the fashion photographer "Dick Avery." Avedon
supplied some of the still photographs used in the production,
including its most famous single image: an intentionally overexposed
close-up of Audrey Hepburn's face in which only her famous features
- her eyes, her eyebrows, and her mouth - are visible.
Hepburn was Avedon's muse in the 1950s and 60s, going as far to say
"I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn
before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is
already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is
no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her
RICHARD AVEDON. Untitled
The Autochrome process,
introduced in France in 1907 by Auguste and Louis Lumière,
was the first practical colour photography process. It used
a colour screen (a glass plate covered with grains of starch
dyed to act as primary-colour filters and black dust that
blocked all unfiltered light) coated with a thin film of
panchromatic (i.e., sensitive to all colours) emulsion, and
it resulted in a positive colour transparency. Because
Autochrome was a colour transparency and could be viewed
only by reflected light, however, researchers continued to
look for improvements and alternative colour processes.
In 1935 Leopold Godowsky,
Jr., and Leopold Mannes, two American musicians
working with the Kodak Research Laboratories, initiated the
modern era of colour photography with their invention of
Kodachrome film. With this reversal (slide) film, colour
transparencies could be obtained that were suitable both for
projection and for reproduction. A year later the Agfa
Company of Germany developed the Agfacolor negative-positive
process, but owing to World War II the film did not become
available until 1949. Meanwhile, in 1942 Kodak introduced
the Kodacolor negative-positive film that 20 years
later—after many improvements in quality and speed and a
great reduction in price—would become the most popular film
used for amateur photography.
Leopold Godowsky, Jr., (born
May 27, 1900, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.—died February 18,
1983, New York, New York), American musician and
photographic technician primarily known as a codeveloper of
Kodachrome film (1935).
Son of the pianist Leopold
Godowsky, the young Godowsky attended New York City’s
Riverdale School, where he met his future photographic
partner, Leopold Mannes, who shared Godowsky’s interest in
both music and photography. Working as a violinist, Godowsky
was able to set up a small laboratory with Mannes and begin
experiments in colour photography. In 1917 Godowsky entered
the University of California as a physics and chemistry
major, as well as accepting positions with the Los Angeles
and San Francisco symphony orchestras. He continued to
collaborate with Mannes, exchanging experimental findings
and ideas by mail.
In 1919 Godowsky and Mannes
created a mediocre colour film, at which time they realized
that the additive process that they had been working with
would not give them the true colours that they sought. It
was at this point that Godowsky and Mannes switched to a
multiple-layered subtractive-colour-film approach that would
eventually lead them to the development of Kodachrome. They
opened their first real laboratory in New York City in 1922,
and, with the backing of C.E. Kenneth Mees of the Eastman
Kodak Company in 1930, the two men moved to Rochester, New
York, to work with assistants at the well-equipped Kodak
Research Laboratories. On April 15, 1935, Kodachrome was
announced as the earliest of the subtractive-colour films
that proved to be a boon for colour photography. Though
initially used for animated motion pictures, Kodachrome was
later improved, and it remains a popular film today.
Godowsky went on to study
mathematics at Columbia University and continued his
photographic experiments in New York City and at Westport,
Connecticut. He assisted in the development of Kodacolor and
Ektachrome and received numerous awards for his
contributions in the field of photography.
Leopold Mannes, (born Dec. 26,
1899, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Aug. 11, 1964, Vineyard
Haven, Mass.), American musician and photographic technician
known as a codeveloper of Kodachrome film (1935).
Mannes attended New York
City’s Riverdale School, where he met his future partner,
Leopold Godowsky, Jr. They enjoyed a mutual interest in
music and photography, and together they set up a small
laboratory for experimentation with colour film. In 1917
Mannes went to Harvard University to study physics and
musicology. After receiving his B.A. in music, he taught at
the Mannes School of Music in New York City, an institution
founded by his parents. Mannes continued his research in
photography, however, and collaborated with Godowsky by
In 1919 Mannes and Godowsky
created a mediocre colour film, at which time they realized
that the additive process they had been working with would
not give them the true colours that they sought. It was at
this point that Mannes and Godowsky switched to a
multiple-layered subtractive-film approach that would
eventually lead them to the development of Kodachrome. They
opened their first real laboratory in New York City in 1922,
and with the backing of Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees of the Eastman
Kodak Company in 1930, the duo moved to Rochester, N.Y., to
work with assistants at the well-equipped Kodak Research
Laboratories. On April 15, 1935, Kodachrome’s development
was announced as the earliest of the colour-subtractive
films that proved a boon to colour photography. Though
originally used for animated motion pictures, Kodachrome was
later improved, and it remains a popular film today. Mannes
returned to the Mannes School of Music, which he renamed the
Mannes College of Music in 1953 after he became director, a
position he held until his death.
Of all the technological innovations occurring in
photography between 1870 and 1920, none was more tantalizing
or possessed greater potential for commercial exploitation
than the discovery of how to make images in color. This
search, which had begun with the daguerreotype, entailed
much dead-end experimentation before a practicable it
temporary solution was found in the positive glass
Autochrome plate, marketed in 1907 by its inventors the
Lumiere brothers. Though easy to use, the process required
long exposures, was expensive, and though the colors were
subtle they were not faultless. Because a simple, efficient
method of turning the transparencies into satisfactory
photographic color prints was not available, the images had
to be viewed in a diascopc (single) or stereograph viewer;
as late as the 1920s commercial portraitists still were
being advised to send black and white work out to be hand
-painted when a color image was desired. Nevertheless,
Autochrome from the start attracted amateurs with leisure
and money, photographers of flowers and nature, and in the
United States, especially, indhiduals and studios involved
in producing commercial images for publication. It also
appealed briefly to aesthetic photographers who recognized
at the time that rather than augmenting reality, color was
best treated as another facet of artistic expressiveness.
UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (French). Lumiere Brothers, n.d.
Gelatin silver print.
French "autochromistes" followed the example of the
Lumieres in documenting family
activities at home, at play, and in their professions. Among
professionals, Jules Gervais-Courtellemont photographed in
the Near and Far East and documented aspects
of World War II; views of military life by Jean Tournassoud (later director of photography for the French
Army) are other examples of interest in this theme.
Autochrome appealed to Lartigue; convinced that "life and
color cannot be separated from each other," he took elegant
if somewhat mannered snapshots exemplified by Bibi in Nice, and for a brief while this color process was
used in a similar fashion throughout Europe.
Not surprisingly, amateurs who liked to photograph
flowers were delighted by Autochrome, but it also attracted
a serious nature photographer, Henry Irving, who was quick
to recognize the value of even a flawed system for botanical
studies. While employed less frequently by
documentary photographers, Autochrome was used by William
Rau, the Philadelphia commercial photographer of railroad
images who by the turn of the century had become interested
in artistic camera expression; Produce is an
example of a subject and treatment unusual in the color work
of the time.
While Autochrome (and its commercial variants) was based
on the theory of adding primary colors together on one plate
to effect the full range of spectral hues, experithat used a
prism to bring the three color plates into one sharply
focused image. Because of the cumbersomencss of tripling the
exposure, the subjects, taken throughout Russia, had to be
more or less immobile, but despite the technical and
logistical difficulties of this complicated undertaking,
Prokudin-Gorskii produced what surely must be the most
ambitious color documentation of the time. In its early
stages, it was hoped that color would add an element of
naturalness to the image—the missing ingredient in
verisimilitude—since actuality obviously was many-hued
rather dian monochromatic as shown in photographs. However,
as photographers began to work with the materials they
realized that rather than making camera images more real,
color dyes comprised another elementments that led to the
production of three different color negatives that
subsequently were superimposed and either projected or made
into color prints were also in progress. Around 1904, this procedure was
used for an extensive documentation of Russian life
conceived by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, a
well-educated member of the Russian Imperial Technological
Society. An educational and ethnographic project made with
the tsar's patronage, it involved the production of three
color-separation negatives on each plate by using a camera
with a spring-operated mechanism that changed filters and
repeated the exposures three times. After development, these
were projected in an apparatus that had to be considered in
terms of its expressive potential. The recognition that the
seductiveness of color— its capacity to make ordinary
objects singularly attractive— would have a powerful effect
on the fields of advertising and publicity was the paramount
stimulus in efforts that led to another breakthrough in
color technology in the 1930s.
By 1890, photography no longer was an arcane craft
practiced by initiates for whom artistic, informational, and
social purposes were conjoined in the same image.
Trans-formed and compartmentalized as a result of changes in
materials, processes, techniques, and equipment,
photo-graphs became at once highly specialized and
everybody's business (and for some, big business). In the
face of the medium's capacity to provide information and
entertainment on such a broad scale, a small group of
photographers struggled to assert the medium's artistic
potential, to lend weight to an observation made some 40
years earlier that photography had "two distinct paths"—art
and science— "to choose from."
LUMIERE BROTHERS. Lumiere Family in the Garden at La
Ciotat, c. 1907-15.
Autochrome. Ilford S.A., France.
LUMIERE BROTHERS. Untitled, c. 1907-15.
Autochrome. Fondation Nationale de la Photographic, Lyon.
Auguste and Louis Lumiere
The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas (19
October 1862, Besançon, France – 10 April 1954, Lyon) and
Louis Jean (5 October 1864, Besançon, France – 6 June 1948,
Bandol), were among the earliest filmmakers.
The Lumières held their first private screening of projected
motion pictures March 22, 1895. Their first public screening
of movies at which admission was charged was held on
December 28, 1895, at Paris's Salon Indien du Grand Café.
This history-making presentation featured ten short films,
including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon
(Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). Each film is 17
meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector,
runs approximately 46 seconds.
It is believed their first film was actually recorded that
same year (1895) with Léon Bouly's cinématographe device,
which was patented the previous year. The cinématographe— a
three-in-one device that could record, develop, and project
motion pictures— was further developed by the Lumières.
Max and Emil Skladanowsky, inventors of the Bioskope, had
offered projected moving images to a paying public one month
earlier (November 1, 1895, in Berlin). Neverless, film
historians consider the Grand Café screening to be the true
birth of the cinema as a commercial medium, because the
Skladanowsky brothers' screening used an extremely
impractical dual system motion picture projector that was
immediately supplanted by the Lumiere cinematographe.
JULES GERVAIS-COURTELLEMONT. Canal at Bierre,
Autochrome. Cinematheque Robert Lynon de la Ville de Paris.
JEAN TOURNASSOUD. Army Scene, c. 1914.
Autochrome. Fondation Nationale de la Photographic, Lyon,
STEPHANE PASSET. Mongolian Horsewoman, c. 1913.
Autochrome. Albert Kahn Collection, Hauts-de-Seine, France.
WILLIAM RAU. Produce, c. 1910.
Autochrome. Library Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
HENRY IRVING. Cornflowers, Poppies, Oat, Wheat, Corncockle. c. 1907.
Autochrome. British Museum (Natural History), London.
HEINRICH KUEHN. Mother and Children on the Hillside,
Autochrome. Robert Miller Gallery, New York.
FRANK EUGENE. Emmy and Kitty, Tutzing, Bavaria,
Autochrome. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
JACQ ES HENRI LARTIGUE. Bibi in Nice,1920.
The Origins of Color in Camera
The images reproduced in this section constitute a brief
pictorial survey of the ways in which color was made part of
the photographic image from the inception of the medium up
through the invention of the first viable additive color
process. It opens with an example of a cyanotype, an early
discovery whose brilliant blue was thought to be too
unrealistic, and follows with a selection of daguerreotypes
and paper prints that were hand-colored by tinting or
painting to make them more lifelike or artistic. This group
also includes works in carbon and gum bichromate—the
manipulative processes that permitted photographers working
from about the 1860s through the turn of the century to
introduce colored pigments into their positive prints. These
are succeeded by examples of the early efforts to produce
color images by using colored filters or incorporating dyes
into the light-sensitive film emulsions. The first such
color experiment—an image of a tartan ribbon— is the work of
James Clerk Maxwell, a theoretical physicist who used the
additive system to demonstrate color vision by projecting
three black and white images through colored filters to
achieve a surprising full-color image. The experiments of
Ducos du Hauron, John Joly, and Auguste and Louis Lumiere—the
inventors of Autochrome—are shown, as are examples of work
in Autochrome by enthusiasts in Europe and the United States
who in the early years of the 20th century recorded family
and friends, documented nature, and made aesthetic
statements using its mellow hues.
ANNA ATKINS. Lycopodium Flagellatum (Algae),
Gemsheim Collection, Humanities Research Center, University
of Texas, Austin.
UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (AMERICAN). Blacksmiths, 1850s.
Daguerreotype with applied color. Collection Leonard A.
Walle, Northville, Mich.
W. E. KILBURN. The Great Chemist Meeting on Kennington Common, April 10, 1848.
Daguerreotype with applied color. Royal Library, Windsor
Reproduced by Gracious Permission of Her Majesty Queen
T. Z. VOGEL and C. REICHARDT. Seated Girl, c. 1860.
Albumen print with applied color. Agfa-Gevaert
Foto-Historama, Cologne, Germany.
FELICE BEATO (ATTRIBUTED). Woman Using Cosmetics, c.
Albumen print with applied color, from a published album now
without title, Yokohama, Japan, 1868.
Art, Prints, and Photographs Division, New York Public
Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations; Gift of Miss
E. F. Thomas, 1924.
Felice Beato (born 1833 or 1834, died c.1907), sometimes
known as Felix Beato, was a Corfiote photographer. He was
one of the first photographers to take pictures in East Asia
and one of the first war photographers. He is noted for his
genre works, portraits, and views and panoramas of the
architecture and landscapes of Asia and the Mediterranean
region. Beato's travels to many lands gave him the
opportunity to create powerful and lasting images of
countries, people and events that were unfamiliar and remote
to most people in Europe and North America. To this day his
work provides the key images of such events as the Indian
Rebellion of 1857 and the Second Opium War. His photographs
represent the first substantial oeuvre of what came to be
called photojournalism. He had a significant impact on other
photographers, and Beato's influence in Japan, where he
worked with and taught numerous other photographers and
artists, was particularly deep and lasting.
The origins and identity of Felice Beato have been
problematic issues, but the confusion over his birth date
and birthplace seems now to have been substantially cleared
up. Based on an application for a travel permit that he made
in 1858, Beato was born in 1833 or 1834 on the island of
Corfu. At the time of his birth, Corfu was part of the
British protectorate of the Ionian Islands, and so Beato
would have qualified as a British subject. Corfu had
previously been a Venetian possession, and this fact goes
some way to explaining the many references to Beato as
"Italian" and "Venetian" member of the Corfiot Italians. The
Beato family is recorded as having moved to Corfu in the
17th century and was one of the noble Venetian families that
ruled the island during the Republic of Venice.
Because of the existence of a number of photographs signed "Felice
Antonio Beato" and "Felice A. Beato", it was long assumed
that there was one photographer who somehow managed to
photograph at the same time in places as distant as Egypt
and Japan. But in 1983 it was shown by Chantal Edel that "Felice
Antonio Beato" represented two brothers, Felice Beato and
Antonio Beato, who sometimes worked together, sharing a
signature. The confusion arising from the signatures
continues to cause problems in identifying which of the two
photographers was the creator of a given image.
LEWIS CARROLL (REV. CHARLES L. DODGSON). Beau-ice
Albumen print with applied color. Rosenbach Museum and
Trustees of the C. L. Dodgson Estate.
ADOLPHE BRAUN. Still Life with Deer and Wildfowl, c.
Carbon print. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; David
Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1947.
EDWARD STEICHEN. The Flatiron, 1905.
Gumbichromate over platinum. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
(b Luxembourg, 27 March 1879; d West Redding, CT, 25
American photographer, painter, designer and curator of
Luxembourgeois birth. Steichen emigrated to the USA in 1881
and grew up in Hancock, MI, and Milwaukee, WI. His formal
schooling ended when he was 15, but he developed an interest
in art and photography. He used his self-taught photographic
skills in design projects undertaken as an apprentice at a
Milwaukee lithography firm. The Pool-evening (1899; New
York, MOMA) reflects his early awareness of the
Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, and American
Symbolist photographers such as Clarence H. White. While
still in Milwaukee, his work came to the attention of White,
who provided an introduction to Alfred Stieglitz; Stieglitz
was impressed by Steichen’s work and bought three of his
JAMES CLERK MAXWELL. Tartan Ribbon, 1861.
Reproduction print from a photographic projection. Science
LOUIS DUCOS DU HAURON. Diaphanie (Leaves), 1869.
Three-color carbon assembly print. Societe Franchise de
LOUIS DUCOS DU HAURON. View of Angouleme, France (Agen),
Heliochrome (assembly) print. International Museum of
Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.
LOUIS DUCOS DU HAURON. Rooster and Parrot, 1879.
Heliochrome (assembly) print. International Museum of
Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.
JOHN JOLY. Arum Lily and Anthuriums, 1898.
Joly process print. Kodak Museum, Harrow, England.
LAURA GILPIN. Still Life, 1912.