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Industrialization and Photography #celebratephotography

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Quick history lesson that’s a great jumping off point for further inquiry from photofocus:

In the late 1800’s the world was beginning to take shape into something more of what it looks like today. Industrialization was coming to cities and taking them, literally, to the next level. Ships were being built larger and larger. Railroad systems were being expanded into uncharted territory. Industrialization brought birth to a lot of great things, one of which was introducing new visual problems for photographers to solve.

Prior to these massive skyscrapers, ships, and trains, our landscapes were serene and unspoiled (okay, maybe less spoiled). The popular aesthetic of romanticism in painting was easily replicated by photographers in tranquil scenes. Landscape photographers used vignettes and deep shadows around the edges of their scenes to center the viewer’s focus. Portrait photographers used plain backdrops to mask elements that would detract from compositions and their subjects. But what on earth was a photographer to do with some of these behemoth, man made structures? Does it even fit within the entire view of the lens? Where do you cut the composition? How do you deal with vast exposure value differences between these large (often dark) objects and the bright sky? Several photographers had their own ways of dealing with these issues and it forced the expansion of the photographic language and aesthetics into new directions.

Read more and see more History of Photography posts from photofocus


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