Class Notes 10/1

  • Average Life Span: 72 Years, 400,000 hours- what are you going to make of your life?
    • Are you going to make a difference or spend it complaining and doing nothing? Go out and do something to change people’s lives. Time in your life never stops, it’s really important to make something meaningful out of your life.

American Photography Video:

  • Straight Photography
    • Camera became instrument of a new kind of vision
  • World War 1: 1917 it all began.
    • President Wilson began a propaganda campaign.
    • The camera became an important weapon of war.
    • Photographers were kept away from the front lines- government censorship was total. No newspaper or photograph was ever permitted to show a photograph of a dead American soldier.
    • Most photos were posed or far away from the action
    • “My position is that I want to bother the relatives, war is an appalling business, and I want everyone to know how appalling it is.”
    • Photos of death were posted by an anti-war group- but they showed the truth. Modern warfare was anything but glorious.
    • 1900’s- photos replace drawings
    • 1919- tabloids.
    • Daily news is the oldest tabloid newspaper in the United States.
    • Illustrated Daily News: logo was a “winged camera”- had big photographs, a lot of photographs. they focused on one story and blew it up for the maximum effect. Something that makes an immediate appeal to the emotions
    • Pictures were used to attract attention- way better than just lots of words.
    • “It was hard not to have a good news day in the 1920’s- tabloid wars. Raucous in your face tabloids.
    • The Evening Graphic- the most sex, scandal and illustrations. “Composograph.” They decided to stage photographs- and pasting in the faces of the principles.
    • Ruth Snyder case- snuck a hidden camera into the execution chamber. You see Ruth getting electrified. “DEAD!” was the headline.
    • Without photographers advertising would’ve had a lot of trouble.
    • A photograph could show the product in a direct and believable way- public responded way better to photographs than drawings- knew they were true.
    • With the skills of professional photographers- lowly objects could be shown in beautiful light.
    • The photographs isolates and worships these objects- helps to bring about a revolution in advertising. Advertising is no longer read- it’s seen.
  • Celebrity
    • A new phenomenon- the media celebrity. Gangsters, scientists- all could become famous if they looked good in pictures.
    • The public wanted to connect more with these people and their private lives.
    • Sports stars became superstars- Babe Ruth became the most photographed human being on earth.
    • Hollywood wanted to sell the belief that anyone could enter that fantasy world of a movie if you connect with the celebrity.
    • Rudolph Valentino was a sex symbol- and died of a burst appendix at age 31. Tabloids were all over it- everyone knew. The New York Graphic published a photo of Rudolph Valentino in Heaven, because nobody else would show that. A riotous crowd indicated how obsessive people become over their connection with celebrities- one lady shot herself after his funeral.
  • Proof of Expanding the Universe…All First Seen on a Photograph
    • Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson- Astronomers would look through telescopes and then draw what he believed he saw. Photograph wasn’t simply a recording of what you saw, it could be much much more than that. The human eye can’t compare the emotion you will recall with a photograph to aid you.
    • To see things farther away in the universe than the human eye can even imagine. Photography has allowed all of these things to be expanded.
  • PostScript:
    • Family trees can be established and families will be connected through photographs.
    • It had been 30 short years since the invention of the “Brownie”. Photos were everywhere- seemed like it had reached it’s peak but it was nowhere near that point. Vivid photographs would unify the nation- the golden age of photography was about to begin.
  • People are beginning to depend more and more on visual sources. It became a language that everyone knew they could speak.
  • Changed people’s perspective on what news was. Photography is what people believe in most. “Seeing is believing, and the photograph is the easiest way to see.”
  • American Photography: A Century of Images.
  • The Photographic Age- 1935-1959
  • If news happens anywhere on earth, there will soon be a photo of it.
  • News is of today, it’s what happened today. The pictures had to be what happened today.
  • In the 1930’s, the daily news was how a majority of a american citizens were informed of the news.
  • Became expensive. The first transmission was a dramatic photo of a plane crash.
  • Wire Photos- Lindbergh Kidnapper story sealed the success of Wire Photos.
  • Sensational news photos were sent all across the world
  • From this time on, no matter where in the world they occurred- appeared in every paper each day.
  • In 1937, the entire country was riveted by a horrifying news story. Everyone could experience it due to wired photos. The Hindenburg- burned in 47 seconds, only one photographer was able to get the photos. Cameras took so long that he was able to get 3 photos.
  • It wasn’t really news if you didn’t have a picture.
  • People want to see pictures of horrible things- death. Want to see things in pictures that are too scary to deal with in life.
  • Photography let’s you see everything, let’s you think about everything.
  • LIFE magazine, biggest publishing act- big and immediate sellout. It took over, why? Because it spoke in a language that everyone understand. Pictures.
  • LIFE opened up a new world to it’s customers. The original publisher: “photo magic”
  • Wanted to see strange things- machines and armies.
  • You turn the pages of LIFE magazine and there is everything. During the Great Depression. The photographs would tell the story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • When you’re finished with that photo essay, you should know what the story is about without reading a word.
  • Pictures published of people’s ordinary lives.
  • One of the reason’s people got hooked on LIFE, all people could share in the experience, the experience was defined by still photographs.
  • LIFE magazine was a great lesson in learning what the outside world was all about.

Homework: Write 2 things for next time. Based on the video: What’s in a photograph? Second part is going to be a practical thing, you’re going to half to do a self-portrait. Final product: a series of 10-12 photos, a photo essay, they have to be a story about you. They can be pictures of you, using your cellphones. It can be a picture of your eye, of your coffee cup, doing something, who you are as a human being. I don’t want you to stage it, think introspectively about the objects that surround you. Put together a meaningful self portrait- 10 to 12 photos. What does the image say about you.


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