HT1 Essential Reading: John Szarkowski’s introduction to ‘The Photographer’s Eye’

John Szarkowski’s introduction to ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ discusses what a photograph looks like and also why it looks the way that it does.
A big part of the history of the photograph is art, as it was scientists and painters who created it. There are still debates on whether photography is art or not as art is made with someone’s two hands, whereas a photograph is taken. There is an interesting quote from Baudelaire saying photographing has “become art’s most mortal enemy” this would be true especially for realist painters, as how can you get more real than a photograph of a landscape or of a person.
Even though the creators of photography were painters and scientist the professional practitioners of photography come from all kinds of different backgrounds and by the thousands, Szarkowski lists ‘silversmiths, tinkers, druggists, black smiths and printers’ as people who converted to photography. As it became easier for people to do photography in 1853 the New York Daily Tribune wrote that three million daguerreotypes where produced in that year. With photography becoming cheaper and in the early 80’s the dry plate was introduced which could be bought ready-to-use came the beginnings of the amateur photographer and also of snapshotting photographs with out any real thought.
Listed in the introduction are five of the problems the medium found over time.

  1. The Thing Itself – The actual, the thought that a photograph cannot lie.
  2. The Detail – If a photograph cannot be a story, it could be a symbol.
  3. The Frame – The edges of showed the end of the image and shows what the photographer thought was most important.
  4. Time – The photograph is the present and the past.
  5. Vantage Point – Photography taught the photographer to look from different perspectives.In conclusion John Szarkowski’s introduction to ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ talks about the photograph and how it has developed in history and how different increases in the science has enabled more and more people to take photographs and be photographers.

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