Photographic Looking Part I


Jeffries with camera in Alfred Hitchcock's
Rear Window, 1954

What does it means for an image to look photographic?
What does it mean to see the world through photography?




Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window is self-reflective
Within that critique, a rich examination of photography as a practice, media and cultural signifier can be made




















Rear Window
Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, 1954

Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (Special Edition), 2008











Joseph Nicephore Niepce. View from His Window at Le Gras. c. 1826. Heliograph on pewter plate.

When we are told we will be looking at a photograph, what kind of image, with what qualities, do we expect to see?
In other words, what is a photograph?











Sunlight at Dawn

Sunlight Through Trees at Dawn 2006

Three things needed to create a photograph:
Optical device that can control light
Chemical process that can reproduce the effects of light on a surface
Chemical process that can fix the effects of light (the image) permanently











Ansel Adams.  Valley View, Yosemite.  c. 1933.











Edward Weston. Nude. 1936.
20th Century Photography Museum Ludwig Cologne. Taschen, Koln, 2005.











Alfred Stieglitz. Georgia O'Keefe. 1922.










We see so many photographic images in one day now, it is difficult to approximate their number - perhaps tens of thousands?
In fact, we are even fairly unaware of how many hundreds (?) of images are taken of ourselves everyday.
But imagine a time when the average person would only have one, maybe two images made of themselves in their lifetime, and concomitantly, would only see a few photos of others in their lives...


Edgar Allan Poe

Abraham Lincoln

John Draper. Miss Dorothy Catherine Draper. c. 1840.

William Pratt.  Edgar Allan Poe.  1849.

Matthew Brady Studio. Abraham Lincoln. c. 1863.
Albumen Cabinet Card.











Because photographs were made with modern technology - with machines and chemical processes - they were assumed to be "true."
"Seeing is believing." - Anonymous first recorded in 1639


Southworth and Hawes. Early Operation Using Ether for Anesthesia. 1847. Daguerreotype.
Maxime Du Camp. The Colossus of Abu-Simbel, Nubia. 1850.
Newhall, Beaumont. The History of Photography. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1982.
John Lamprey. Malayan Male. c. 1868 – 69.
Marien, Mary Warner.  Photography: A cultural History.  Second edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006.





















Alexander Gardner. Home of the Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg. 1863.











Carlton E. Watkins.  Mt. Broderick, Yosemite.  1861.  Albumen print.
SFMOMA.  Picturing Modernity.  San Francisco: SFMOMA, 1998.
Timothy O' Sullivan. Ancient Ruins in the Canyon de Chelle, New Mexico. 1873. Albumen print.











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










When the hand-held camera was introduced at the end of the 19th century, manufacturers emphasized:
ease of use - democratic because anyone can do it
instantaneous preservation of fleeting moments - capturing history otherwise lost
a bargain - "You press the button, we do the rest."

Kodak #1 Camera











Kodak Brownie Ads. 1900.











snapshot = to shoot instinctively without taking aim


Photo-Revolver de Poche c. 1882.











Jacques-Henri Lartigue. My Cousin Bichonnade. 1905.
Marien, Mary Warner.  Photography: A cultural History.  Second edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006.











Baby elephant at the zoo c. 1890










Unknown Photographer. Two Young Girls. c. 1890.