Photography's Salvation
Clarence H. White, Drops of Rain, 1908.








Edward Steichen, Moonlight: The Pond, 1906.  16" X 19".
In 2006, one of three known copies of Steichen's Moonlight: The Pond sold at auction for $2,928,000 setting a record for the highest price paid for a photograph











"The photograph cannot deceive; there is no power in this marvelous machine either to add or to take from: we know what we see must be true." - 1860 article in Art Journal











Yosemite Falls
Carlton E. Watkins, Yosemite Falls, c. 1866.  Albumen print.
Carleton E. Watkins, portrait of Eadweard Muybridge in front of the Ulysses S. Grant Tree, Mariposa Grove, 1872.











Eadweard Muybridge, Clouds, Rest, Valley of the Yosemite, c. 1870.


sky shade = shutterlike device invented by Muybridge  to block the amount of blue light reaching the plate, thereby minimizing the overexposure of sky in the photograph











Eadward Muybridge, A Modoc Brave on the War Path, 1872 - 1873.

(The subject is Warm Springs scout Loa-kum Ar-nuk.)











Edward S. Curtis, Sioux Chiefs,
Ah-del-stohne (Straight Shooter), Adam Clark Vroman, 1903.











"In Mr. Curtis we have both an artist and a trained observer, whose pictures are pictures, not merely photographs." - Theodore Roosevelt

The North American Indian, 1907
Edward Curtis, Bear Bull-Blackfoot, from The North American Indian, 1926.











Problems in Curtis's approach:
  • Preserved his subjects in an imaginary time capsule
  • Excluded non-traditional garments that "real" natives wore
  • Emphasized "traditional" costumes and artifacts that were associated with the Native American
  • Added "authentic" props and artifacts from his studio trunk when not available
  • Identified subjects by ethnographic type instead of by individual name
Edward S. Curtis, Oglala War-Party, 1907.











"The information that is to be gathered ... respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost." – Edward S. Curtis
Edward S. Curtis, Watching the Dancers - Hopi, 1906.












Leland Stanford's horse, Electioneer c. 1890s.











1874 Muybridge murders his wife's lover and goes on trial


In the meantime...











1870s Richard Leach Maddox develops the gelatin dry plate

  • Silver salts suspended in dry coat of gelatin rather than collodion
  • Prepared by holding light-sensitive mixture of silver nitrate, cadmium bromide and gelatin at constant temperature for several days
Advantages over wet plate process:
  • Plate prepared in advance - no more lengthy preparation process
  • Resulting plate was ten times more sensitive to light than collodion wet plate allowing a much shorter exposure time
  • Allowed action shots
  • Allowed camera to be held in hands rather than mounted on a tripod
1880s glass plates replaced with celluloid and mass produced
"It has been the salvation of photography...Blessed then be the dry plate!" - Edward L. Wilson






















Muybridge's camera set up






















Eadweard Muybridge, Galloping Horse, Motion Study-Sallie Gardner, June 19, 1878, Collotype.











Eadward Muybridge, Buffalo Gallop, 1887.










Etienne-Jules Marey
1830 - 1904


Etienne-Jules Marey, Bird Flying, 1886. Chronophotograph.











Etienne-Jules Marey, High Jump, July 1886. Chronophotograph.


Fusil Photographique = camera with rotating plate capable of taking a rapid sequence of separate images











Etienne-Jules Marey, Pole Vaulter, 1886. Chronophotograph.






















Cinematography = the art and technique of making motion pictures


Edison's Kinetoscope, 1902.











Eadward Muybridge, Woman and Child, 1887.











woman getting into bed

Eadward Muybridge, Woman getting into bed, 1887.











Eadward Muybridge, Woman with Water Jug, 1887.











Eadward Muybridge, Nude Descending a Staircase, 1887.











Eadward Muybridge, Woman Dancing, 1887.











Eadward Muybridge, Male Gymnast, 1887.











Eadward Muybridge, Men Wrestling, 1887.











Eadward Muybridge, Man hitting baseball with bat, 1887.











Eadweard Muybridge, Pouring Bucket of Water Overhead, 1887. Collotype.











Muybridge vs. Marey

Eadweard Muybridge, Man Pulling, 1887.

Etienne-Jules Marey, Measuring the Speed of a Swordthrust, c. 1890.