Photo History – Class 12 Spring 2014 – The Manipulative Impulse

Is any photograph real? This question comes up as we trace the trajectory of the manipulated image in this class session. We also try to see if we can figure out where our digital photographic age is taking us and whether we want to go there.

Photo History – Class 11 Spring 2014 – Women in Photography

Is anatomy destiny? This class session looks at women’s photography by examining the work of various female photographers as well as by looking at the bigger issue of whether the photographer’s gender changes the images that are made.

Photo History – Class 10 Spring 2014 – Cameras Big and Small

This week, we examine photographers using large cameras and those using small cameras and try to examine the importance of the choice of tools to the photographer. Does the tool drive the idea, or the idea drive the tool?

Photo History – Class 9 Spring 2014 – Stieglitz and the Photo Secession

One of the great characters in the history of the medium, Alfred Stieglitz was also one of the most influential photographers and promoters of photography of the 20th century. In this class, we look at Stieglitz and the group of photographers and other artists he gathered around him. We also try to examine why what Stieglitz did and what he said were often two different things.

Photo History – Class 8 Spring 2014 – Muybridge, Marey and the Movies

Stop-motion photography as practiced by Edweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey and others is the topic of this class session. These scientific experiments ultimately led to the development of motion pictures by Edison.

Photo History – Class 7 Spring 2014 – Stereography and Standard Subjects

A slightly shorter class session, as we cover three smaller topics: 1) the ideas surrounding stereoscopic photography, 2) the way 19th century photographers handled photographing standard subjects; once you take away subject, what other choices do photographers have to make? and 3) Rephotography: how does subject matter change over time and what does that mean for photographers?

Photo History – Class 6 Spring 2014 – Photography and Painting

The interactive relationship that painting and photography have had for 174 years is the topic of this class session. We attempt to look at how painting influenced photography and vice-versa. We also look briefly at how what photographs “look like” influence our understanding of what they are.

Check out additional content via the Twitter feed on the right or follow @jeffcurto on Twitter, and “Like” Jeff Curto’s Podcasts on Facebook

Photo History – Class 5 Spring 2014 – Photography as Transport + On The Road

Photography as a form of transportation is the topic for class #5. We look at how the advent of wet-plate collodion technology spurred the advance of travel and landscape photography, with a special emphasis on photography of the American west. There is also a brief exploration of 20th century photographers who went “on the road” as well as a look at the way 21st Century technology like Google Earth, Gigapan and Photosynth are changing the way in which we are able to see the distant parts of the globe for ourselves.

I’m Tweeting during my class lectures. Follow me @jeffcurto and look for the hashtag #photohistory or see the twitter feed on the right side of this blog page.

Photo History – Class 4 Spring 2014 – Light and Likeness: Portrait Photography

The 4th class meeting starts a more conceptual approach to the medium’s history. We look at 19th, 20th and some 21st century portraits and see if we can draw some conclusions about what makes a good portrait photograph. We also see if we can draw some parallels with the words and ideas of the Transcendentalist thinkers and writers Emerson and Thoreau and see if they can help us illuminate what portraiture means.

I’m “live tweeting” some class content this semester during the class on Monday evenings, 6 to 9 Central Time. Follow me @jeffcurto and look for the hashtag #photohistory or see the twitter feed on the right side of this blog page.

Photo History – Class 3 Spring 2014 – History Survey Part 2

In this second part of a two-part survey, we continue our fast trip through the history of photography, attempting to get a handle on who did what, when they did it and how it happened. We start in around 1880 and finish up in the 1990s.

I’ll be “live tweeting” some class content this semester. Follow me @jeffcurto and look for the hashtag #photohistory or see the twitter feed on the right side of this blog page.

Photo History – Class 2 Spring 2014 – History Survey Part 1

Class session #2 is the first part of a two-part overview of the history of photography; a sort of “condensed” history in order to get a sense of the medium’s “who, what, when and where.” This week, we cover from 1800 B.C. to 1888 A.D.

I’ll be “live tweeting” some class content this semester. Follow me @jeffcurto and look for the hashtag #photohistory

For more information about the podcast, visit this blog page.

Photo History – Class 1 Spring 2014 – Course Intro & Overview

In this first class meeting for the spring 2014 semester, we spend the first 60 minutes or so going over class mechanics & course technology enhancements, including explanation of this podcast and other internet resources. The last hour is spent looking at some of the problems that the photo historian faces, including an introduction to the pioneering work of Daguerre and Fox Talbot. All visuals for each class session are available online at http://photohistory.jeffcurto.com

The History of Photography podcast is now in video format; a little longer to download, but all the visuals are embedded in the podcast itself!

Photo History – Photograph as Document, Concept as Photograph

The 15th and final class session for the fall 2013 term examines documentary and conceptual photography, looking at the motivation and rationale behind them. We also try to tie up the ideas of the course with some concluding remarks.

The History of Photography Podcast will be back in the spring 2014 semester. Until then, you might want to check out my other podcast, Camera Position, where I discuss photography’s creative aspects.

I also have 2 spots left in my Italy Photography Workshops for the first week of August, 2014.

Photo History – Class 14 Fall 2013 – The Atomic Age and New Frontiers

The middle of the 20th century was a time of tremendous change in all areas of the world and especially in the world of photography. This class session looks at the changes that photography experienced during the atomic age through an examination of the cultural, political and artistic climate of the time.

Photo History – Class 13 Fall 2013 – Szarkowski: How To See

During his 29-year tenure as Director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the great curator and photographer John Szarkowski (1925 to 2007) changed the way the world saw photography.

This short class session introduces Szarkowski’s work and was followed by a film about him.

Photo History – Spring 09 : Art Institute of Chicago Field Trip

Field Trip! The Photo History class visits the The Mary L. and Leigh B. Block Photography Study Room at the Art Institute of Chicago, giving us the opportunity to see original images from the history of the medium.

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The Art Institute of Chicago:

Photo History Intersession – January 14

The 5th and final Photo History Intersession commemorates the anniversary of the death of 19th century photographer Charles Dodgeson. Dodgeson, better known by his writing pen name of Lewis Carroll, was an important and interesting photographer as well as an author.

Alice Liddell - Photograph by Charles Dodgeson aka Lewis CarrollAlice Liddell by Julia Margaret Cameron

Alice Liddell – Photograph by Charles Dodgeson aka Lewis Carroll (left) and Julia Margaret Cameron (right)

Click images for larger views

Photo History Intersession – January 05

The 4th Photo History Intersession looks at two rather dramatically opposed technical applications of photography: The first X-Ray image, made by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1896 and the first auroral (northern lights) photograph made by Martin Brendel in 1892.

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(left) First X-Ray image by Wilhelm Röntgen – 1896 & (right) First auroral (northern lights) photograph by Martin Brendel (1892)

Photo History Intersession – January 01

In the third History of Photography Intersession, we look at some interesting events from January first, as we commemorate the birth date of photographer William Klein, the anniversary of the death of Edward Weston, some facts about George Eastman and his inventions and the birth of the Associated Press Wirephoto.

Photo History Intersession – December 29

The second “intersession” history of photography podcast commemorates the anniversary of the death of French photographer Robert Demachy, who was active around the turn of the 20th century, as photography was trying to find its artistic self.

Photo History Intersession – December 20

In the first of a few “intersession” podcasts between the fall and spring semesters, we commemorate the birth date of photojournalist W. Eugene Smith (1918) and the anniversary of the death of photographer Bill Brandt (1983).

Photo History Summer School – August 22

We bring the summer school sessions to a close with a rememberance of the 100th birthday of the great photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Hyères, France, 1932″

Photo History Summer School – July 16

On this date in 1926, National Geographic Magazine published color underwater photographs; a photographic first. This wasn’t the first attempt at underwater photography, however; photographers had been taking pictures below the waves since 1856.

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Links:

Photo History Summer School – July 7

Alexander Gardner photographed the hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators on July 7, 1865. This image and a pair of Gardner’s portraits of two of the men who are about to be executed are the subjects of this Photo History Summer School session.

Click on images for larger views:

Alexander Gardner - the \Alexander Gardner - Portrait of Lincoln Conspirator David HeroldAlexander Gardner - Portrait of Lincoln Conspirator Lewis Payne

Above Left: Alexander Gardner – The “cracked glass” Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, February 1865

Above Center: Alexander Gardner – Portrait of Lincoln Conspirator David Herold

Above Right: Alexander Gardner – Portrait of Lincoln Conspirator Lewis Payne (AKA Lewis Powell – his original name)

Alexander Gardner - The Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators

Above: Alexander Gardner – The Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators, July 7, 1863

Photo History Summer School – July 5

Powerful and horrific photographs of the effects of the Battle of Gettysburg by Timothy O’Sullivan and Alexander Gardner are the subject of today’s Photo History Summer School.

Click Images for a larger view

Timothy O\'Sullivan - A Harvest of Death - July, 1863

Above: Timothy O’Sullivan – A Harvest of Death – July, 1863

Alexander Gardner - The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, July, 1863

Above: Alexander Gardner – The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, July, 1863

Photo History Summer School – June 8

In this summer school session, we explore two remarkable photographers; the Vietnamese photojournalist Nick Ut whose best-known image was created on this date and the Chinese pictorial master Don Hong-Oai, who died on this date in 2004.

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Links for this session:

Photo History Summer School – May 30

Today’s summer school session is all about color.

On this date in 1904, The Parisian brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière presented their patented color photographic process, the Autochrome, to the French Academy of Sciences. The Autochrome was the first commercially feasible color photographic process; the first time photographers could reliably produce color images.

This is date is also the birthday of one of the great color photographers of the 20th century, Pete Turner. Turner, born in 1934 in Albany, New York, has had a long history of using color as subject. His photographs contain raw, punchy often startling color and have been like that since long before it was fashionable to do so.

Some Autochrome and Pete Turner images:

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Some links for this session

Photo History Summer School – May 25

In today’s May 25th edition of Photo History Summer School, we note the birth dates of the avant garde Cech photographer Jaroslav Rossler and the oddly surrealistic American photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard as well as the anniversary of the death of the preeminant war photographer Robert Capa.

Some images by Rossler, Meatyard and Capa:

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Photo History Summer School – May 23

Cornell Capa, the photojournalist and tireless advocate of humanistic photography died today, May 23, 2008. He was 90 years old. A great and committed photographer, Capa’s heartfelt images were often overshadowed by two other elements in his life. One was the photography of his brother, the pre-eminent war photographer Robert Capa. The other was the founding and early management of the International Center for Photography (ICP) in New York, considered by many to be one of the most important photographic resources in the world.

Photographs (below) by Cornell Capa – click to enlarge


Photo History Summer School – May 13

It’s summer, but photo history doesn’t rest… May 13th is the anniversary of the birth of Czech photography Jan Saudek (1935, Prague) and also the anniversary of the death (1980) of German photographer Otto Umbehr, known as Umbo. This “summer school” podcast briefly presents their work.

Some images by Jan Saudek & Umbo

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Websites for this podcast:

The Camera in The Cathedral: A Brief History of Photography of the Natural World

From the very beginning of the medium, photographers have wanted to portray their sense of wonder and awe in the face of the natural world through the camera’s lens, often offering up nature as the Great American Cathedral. This romantic tradition continues, but the mid-20th century saw a change in the way photographers looked at the world around them; a change that altered the face of photography. By looking at photographs from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, we’ll explore the ways photographers have recorded and interpreted nature with the camera.