This Month in the History of Photography

This Month in the History of Photography

The following events occurred this month in the History of Photography:

“When another hundred years have rolled around and the achievements of nineteenth century scientist have been sifted and weighed George Eastman will probably be place alongside of Daguerre. Daguerre is like the man who cut away the underbrush on the edge of the forest. Eastman swung his axe into the wood, made the clearing and tilled the soil and reaped the harvest.”

This fragment was taken from the first authorized newspaper biography of the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, titled “George Eastman. The man behind the Kodak” published on November 3, 1912 by the New York Sun. The article accounts the many achievements of Eastman and draws a profile of one of the most notable men in Rochester describing him not only as an entrepreneur but a philanthropist.

On November 3, 1903, American photographer Walker Evans was born in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1926, Evans travelled to Paris as an aspiring writer and there he encountered the images of Eugène Atget and August Sander. In 1927, back in the United States, he pursued photography as his own way to tell stories. Commissioned by the Farm Security Administration, Evans captured with his 8x10in view camera some of the most representative images in the history of photography that document the effects of the Great Depression. By 1938, he had his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, becoming the first photographer to achieve this distinction. His documentary style inspired generations of photographers and his images have been widely exhibited and published around the world.

Walker Evans, Posters covering a building near Lynchburg to advertise a Downie Bros. circus, 1936. U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 USA.

Robert Mapplethorpe was born on November 4, 1946 in New York. In 1963, he enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he studied drawing, painting and sculpture. Mapplethorpe first took up the camera in the early 1970s when a friend loaned him a Polaroid SX-70. As a photographer, he worked for Andy Warhol´s Interview magazine and had his first solo show exhibition in New York in 1976. His intentionally provocative work in portraiture and figure studies often explores nudity and sexuality in a highly stylized way and he remains as one of the most influential photographers of the late twentieth century.

On November 9, 1924 photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank was born in Zürich to a Swiss mother and a German father. In 1947 not long after the war ended, Frank departed to the United States. In New York, he landed a job as a photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. By 1955, after being awarded a Guggenheim grant, Frank travelled through the United States with his 35mm Leica. During this period, the photographer shoot around 27,000 pictures but only 83 of those images were published in The Americans, one of the most influential books in the history of photographyBy the 1960s Frank turned his interest into film and since then he has produced a significant amount of independent free essay films including Cocksucker Blues, a documentary about the Rolling Stones tour in the United States in the early 70s.

“Cycling around the world” Photographs by MM. William L. Satchleben and Thomas G. Allen. November 15, 1890.

On November 15, 1890, two years after the introduction of the Kodak Camera No.1, the Penny Illustrated Paper published an article titled “Cycling around the world” with photographs by the American Tourist Cyclists, M M. William L. Satchleben and Thomas G. Allen. Both photographers traveled to France and photographed the scenery of their trip. The Penny Illustrated published the letter sent by Satchleben and Allen in full-page narrating their adventures in the European country and illustrating them with some “Kodak Views.” It is not uncommon to find these kinds of articles in the early days of Kodak. The Eastman company invested part of their advertising campaigns into promoting their products among cyclists including cases to attach their camera to the bicycles.

This Month in the History of Photography

This Month in the History of Photography

The following events occurred this month in the History of Photography:

Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1968, she went to study painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. There she discovered photography and was seduced by the immediacy of the medium. In 1973, she became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer and it’s been said that her work helped to define the look and style of the magazine. In 1983, she joined Vanity Fair and created some of the most memorable covers for the magazine. In 1991, her work was exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York and according to William Hartshorn, then Deputy Director of the ICP, this exhibition was designated as one of the most popular in the history of the venue. Many of her images have been called icons of our time, including the photograph she took of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the cover of Rolling Stone and the controversial image of Demi Moore for the cover of Vanity Fair.

Stephen Shore was born on October 8, 1947. When he was six years old an uncle gave him a Kodak darkroom set and that initiated him into photography. At nine, he got his first 35mm camera and by the time he was 11 years old he was convinced that he would be a photographer. In the 1960s, he met Andy Warhol when Shore was only 17 years old. Shore has said that meeting Andy Warhol was a turning point in his life and surely marked some of the photographer’s aesthetic interests. By 1971, he had exhibited his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York becoming the youngest living photographer to have a solo exhibition at the MET.


Dorothea Lange, Resettlement Administration photographer, in California. 1936.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540

Dorothea Lange died on October 11, 1965, in San Francisco, California, at age 70. When Lange’s doctors told her she only had months to live, the photographer was still thinking about photographing her family to make a documentary about the Farm Security Administration photographs and to document the unionization of migrants workers in California. None of those projects would be completed. The last project she was involved with was a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Lange and John Szarkowsi, head of the Museum’s Department of Photography, collaborated closely on the decisions of content and the organization of the photographs. The exhibition opened in January 15, 1966, after the death of the photographer.

On October 27, 1972, LIFE magazine published a photograph of Edwin Land where he demonstrates his new invention, the SX-70. A camera that could be folded down to the size if a cigar case and could fit in a coat pocket. The magazine titled the piece, “A Genius and his Magic Camera” and it shows Land surrounded by children holding the SX-70 model. This camera was the first automated, motorized, folding, single lens reflex camera to produce self-developing instant color prints. By 1973, the SX-70 model was sold at the rate of five thousand a day.

This Month in the History of Photography

This Month in the History of Photography

The following events occurred this month in the History of Photography: [1]

According to historian Naomi Rosenblum, the first instruction manuals to make daguerreotypes arrived in the United States from England in September 1839, shortly after the announcement of the French Government’s acquisition of the new invention.

On September 1, 2015, Takuma Nakahira, pioneer of modern Japanese photography and co-founder of the photography magazine Provoke, died at age 77. Nakahira was born in Tokyo in 1938. He graduated from the Spanish Department of Tokyo University. In the 1960s, he became a full-time photographer but he was also a writer, critic, and political activist. In Provoke he advocated for a style known as are, bure, boke, (grainy, blurry and out-of-focus), a style that questioned whether realism in photography was possible. In 1969, Nakahira’s photographic work received the Newcomer Award from the Japanese Photography Critics’ Association.

One hundred and twenty eight years ago, the Kodak brand was born in the United States and soon became synonym of photography for more than a century. On September 4, 1888, George Eastman formally registered the word “Kodak” as his company’s trademark. About the peculiar name, Eastman wrote to the British Patent Office: “This is not a foreign name or word; it was constructed by me to serve a definite purpose. It has following merits as a trademark word: First. It is short. Second. It is not capable of mispronunciation. Third. It does not resemble anything in the art and cannot be associated with anything in the art except the Kodak.”

On September 5, 1933, Bruce Davidson was born in Chicago. Davidson is considered one of America’s most influential photographers. He studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. In 1961, he received a Guggenheim fellowship to document the civil-rights movement. In 1970, his most well known work East 100 Street was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His photographs have been shown in numerous institutions in the United States and abroad. Since 1958 he has been a full member of Magnum Photos.

American Photographer Nan Goldin was born September 12, 1953. Goldin is most famous for her long-term visual diary The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. Her work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and two major retrospectives, one organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 2007, she received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award and she was recipient of the Lucie Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Portrait in 2014.

Joel Peter Witkin was born September 13, 1939. Witkin’s photographs have been described as grotesque and morbid. His darkly imaginative vision often references other artists in the history of art and the history of photography. From Coubert to Etienne Jules Marey, Witkin explores different elements in other artist’s works and incorporates them in his own oeuvre. His photographs have been exhibited internationally at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, the Baudoin Lebon Gallery in Paris, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, among many others.

Master American Photographer Lewis Hine was born September 26, 1874 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Hine graduated from New York University and began graduate studies in sociology at Columbia University. As a photographer, his career began in 1905 with a series of pictures taken on Ellis Island. By 1908, Hine quit his job as a New York City school teacher and became a full-time investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee where he worked for sixteen years. Hine traveled around the United States photographing child workers in factories, mills, and mines. His powerful images of working children exposed the devastating effects of child labor and stirred America’s conscience. By the time of his death in 1940, social reform photography had become not only an accepted method of documenting but also was appreciated as an art form.

[1] Image Credit. 11:00 A.M. Monday, May 9th, 1910. Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch, Jefferson near Franklin. They were all smoking. Location: St. Louis, Missouri-Artist: Lewis Hine (American, 1874–1940)-Date: ca. 1910 -Medium: Gelatin Silver Print- 1970.727.3.