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Social documentation became more focused in the work of , a police reporter in in the 1880s who spent about four years depicting slum life. Employing cameramen at first, Riis eventually learned the rudiments of the medium so that he could himself portray the living and working conditions of immigrants whose social circumstances, he believed, led to crime and dissolution. Reproduced by the recently developed halftone process, the photographs and drawings based on them illustrated How the Other Half Lives (1890), Riis’s first book about immigrant life. They also were turned into positive transparencies—slides—to illustrate Riis’s lectures, which were aimed at a largely middle-class audience, some of whom were said to have fainted at the sight of the conditions the images documented. Able to convince the progressive reformers of the time of the need for change, Riis’s work was instrumental in effecting slum-clearance projects in New York.

When the broke out in the United States, , a New York City daguerreotypist and portraitist, conceived the bold plan of making a photographic record of the hostilities. When told the government could not finance such an undertaking, he invested his own savings in the project, expecting to recover his outlay by selling thousands of prints. Brady and his crew of about 20 photographers—among them and , who both left his employ in the midst of hostilities—produced an amazing record of the battlefield. At his New York gallery, Brady showed pictures of the dead at . The reported on October 20, 1862:

Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it.…It seems somewhat singular that the same sun that looked down on the faces of the slain, blistering them, blotting out from the bodies all semblance to humanity, and hastening corruption, should have thus caught their features upon canvas, and given them perpetuity for ever. But so it is.

Cameron took up photography as a pastime in 1864. Using the wet-plate process, she made portraits of such celebrated Victorians of her acquaintance as , , , , and . For her portraits, a number of which were shown at the Paris International Exhibition of 1867, Cameron used a lens with the extreme focal length of 30 inches (76.2 cm) to obtain large close-ups. This lens required such long exposures that the subjects frequently moved. The lack of optical definition and this accidental blurring was criticized by the photographic establishment, yet the power of her work won her praise among artists. This can be explained only by the intensity of her vision. “When I have had these men before my camera,” she wrote about her portraits of great figures,

my whole soul has endeavoured to do its duty toward them in recording faithfully the greatness of the inner man as well as the features of the outer man. The photograph thus obtained has almost been the embodiment of a prayer.

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The Complete Essays 1973–1991 includes 68 texts ranging from newspaper articles, to book introductions, notes for photography classes and lectures, and some personal thoughts about pop culture of the day.

Journal E: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in …

That book was . It totally shifted my perspective. While the book talks about moving into vocational photography, it talks a lot about staying true to your actual vision, and remembering what got you tripping shutters in the first place. I love this book. Both for the lesson contained within, but also for the different artists it introduced me to and their experiences and points of view.

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We can learn from the images and writings of the time...This site provides an extensive digital collection of original photographs and documents about the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures, complemented by essays written by anthropologists, historians, and teachers about both particular tribes and cross-cultural topics. These cultures have occupied, and in some cases still live in parts of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. are available that show traditional territories or reservation boundaries.

Explore and Compare. New York Times article about a particularly horrific episode during the Rwandan genocide. Compare Lorch’s written account to the photographs by Gilles Peress.

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The most important control is, of course, the creative photographer’s vision. He or she chooses the vantage point and the exact moment of exposure. The photographer perceives the essential qualities of the subject and interprets it according to his or her judgment, taste, and involvement. An effective photograph can information about humanity and nature, record the visible world, and extend human knowledge and understanding. For all these reasons, photography has aptly been called the most important invention since the .


An essay about a photograph starts with a claim as its foundation. You have different approaches for formulating a claim. One approach is to consider how the visual elements affect the photo's message. With this approach you may evaluate the effectiveness of a composition at conveying its message. Alternatively, a photograph may require analyzing the visual elements and making a claim about what its message is; this approach is especially useful for abstract works. Ultimately you want to base your claim on what message the photo carries and how effectively it delivers it. Taking notes during observation gives you support for your claim.In 1826/27, using a camera obscura fitted with a pewter plate, Niépce produced the first successful photograph from nature, a view of the courtyard of his country estate, Gras, from an upper of the house. The exposure time was about eight hours, during which the moved from east to west so that it appears to shine on both sides of the building.UNUSUAL PHOTO ESSAYSLet’s work through an example to illustrate each category below. Let’s say National Geographic s sending you to into southern Tunisia to do a story on an ancient and unique kind of weaving practiced by a Berber tribe. You are taken by a ‘fixer’ — a paid translator, driver and social planner — to a village made up of several small huts and a central bungalow with three ancient looms and the equipment for making the dies. Likely it would be women doing the weaving. You’d probably have a working shotlist in your head (or written). It would include photos in each of the categories below:I want to introduce a few basic ideas here about editing essays in general and slideshows in particular. As outlined above, variety is key. The first few images are especially important and often include a combination of the following:There are several conventional ways to structure the narrative of a story, sometimes photographers will use a combination of the options presented below: