Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Impact of Photography on Art and Graphic Design

The concept of photography began with a device called the camera obscura, which had been used by artists as a drawing aid since the 4th century B.C. From there, it progressed to the work of Joseph Niepce, who created his heliogravure (“sun engraving”) by exposing pewter plates inside a camera obscura to light. He produced the first photographic image from the window of his workroom using this process. The evolution of photography progressed a little further with the work of Louis Jacques Daguerre, who was able to produce images of greater clarity and accuracy with his daguerreotypes. Eventually, the art grew to a point where it could be offered to the general public.

Because it was a faster and more accurate way of recording a moment, photography became popular as a way to obtain portraits. As the technology available to early photographers grew, so did the uses for photography. It was used in magazines and advertisements. It also provided a way for normal people to see images that normally would not have been available to them, such as those brought back by photographers documenting the Civil War. This dramatically shifted the need for artists and illustrators, but it also created a difference in artistic style. Because photographs had become the preferred way to capture portraits and scenery, artists were forced to find more imaginative subjects to paint.

It’s true that photography greatly altered the world of art, but in the process, it created a new art form that still exists today.

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