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The first photographs of people

17 Nov

The first permanent photograph (later accidentally destroyed) was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. His photographs were produced on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea, which he then dissolved in white petroleum. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light. The unhardened material may then be washed away and the metal plate polished, rendering a positive image with light regions of hardened bitumen and dark regions of bare pewter. Niépce then began experimenting with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1727 that silver nitrate (AgNO3) darkens when exposed to light. [via Wikipedia]

Nicéphore Niépce’s earliest surviving photograph of a scene from nature, circa 1826, “View from the Window at Le Gras,” Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (France).

“Boulevard du Temple”, taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839, was the first-ever photograph of people. It is an image of a busy street, but because exposure time was over ten minutes, the city traffic was moving too much to appear. The exceptions are the two people in the bottom left corner, one who stood still getting his boots polished by the other long enough to show up in the picture.

Robert Cornelius, self-portrait, Oct. or Nov. 1839, approximate quarter plate daguerreotype.
The back reads, “The first light picture ever taken.” This self-portrait is the first photographic
portrait image of a human ever produced.

Before the recent discovery of the Cornelius photo, this was the oldest known photograph portrait,
made by Dr. Joseph Draper of New York in 1840. The subject is his sister, Anna Katherine Draper.

A calotype print showing the American photographer Frederick Langenheim (circa 1849).
Note, the caption on the photo calls the process Talbotype

Roger Fenton’s assistant seated on Fenton’s photographic van, Crimea, 1855

General view of The Crystal Palace at Sydenham by Philip Henry Delamotte

Mid 19th century “Brady stand” photo model’s armrest table, meant to keep portrait models more still during long exposure times (studio equipment nicknamed after the famed US photographer, Mathew Brady)

First color image, photograph by James Clerk Maxwell, 1861

A photographer appears to be photographing himself in a 19th-century photographic studio. Note clamp to hold the poser’s head still. A 1893 satire on photographic procedures already becoming obsolete at the time

Jumpology by Philippe Halsman

20 Oct

Philippe Halsman, with an unsurpassed 101 LIFE magazine covers to his credit, had the bold and unconventional idea back in the 1950’s to ask the famous and prominent people he was commissioned to photograph for the likes of LIFE, LOOK and the Saturday Evening Post, once the formal sessions were over, to jump! The results were amazing, as each subject interpreted this bizarre request in their own unique way, often defying their typical public image. We see Richard Nixon as he floats twelve inches above the floor with a peaceful smile on his face, a far cry from the scowl many of us ultimately remember him by. And there is the rather large Jackie Gleason, in a handsome dark suit and his fingers extended wide, defying gravity as he lifts off, and from somewhere off-camera we can’t help but hear “To the moon, Alice.”

Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Salvador Dali, Weegee, Jack Dempsey and even the Duke and Duchess of Windsor agreed to take a leap of faith. In that era of live television along with the popularity of the big glossy magazines, one’s image was not nearly as protected and shaped by handlers as it is today. There was a feeling of innocence, a desire for spontaneity, and Halsman, with his playful and charming personality, knew he had to get almost everyone to oblige his demand: JUMP!

Philippe Halsman was born in Latvia in 1906, and began his photographic career in Paris in the early 1930’s. He emigrated to New York in the fall of 1940, as Paris fell to the Nazis. He soon became one of the most prominent photographers in America., his photographs published widely and regularly. He died in 1979. His photographs have been collected and exhibited by museums around the world. (via)

Marilyn Monroe and Philippe Halsman, 1954

The Cat Girl, Lilly Christine, 1953

Duke & Dutchess of Windsor, 1956

Grace Kelly, 1959

Richard Nixon, 1955

Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham, 1947

Dick Clark, 1952

Dianna Dorrs, 1956

Eva Marie Saint, 1954

Jean Seberg with Cat, 1959

Professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1958

Dali with three girls, 1949

Weegee, 1961

Edward Steichen, 1955

Mike Wallace, 1957

J Fred Muggs, 1953

Marilyn Monroe, 1959

Daytona Beach, 1947

Jerome Robbins with Students, 1959

Lena Horne, 1954

Sophia Loren, 1959

Tamara Toumanova, 1953

Murray Kempton, 1956

Audrey Hepburn, 1955

Adam Clayton Powell, 1959

Aldous Huxley, 1958

Brigitte Bardot, 1951

Brigette Bardot (contact sheet), 1951

Benny Goodman, 1957

Five Choreographers, 1951

Ballet on Beach, 1948

Danny Kaye, 1954

Donald O’Connor, 1952

David Seymour ‘Chim’ with Jane and Irene Halsman, 1957

Ed Sullivan, 1955

Edward Villela, 1961

Gisele MacKenzie, 1956

Harold Lloyd, 1950

Jackie Gleason, 1955

Jack Dempsey, 1954

Janet Leigh, 1951

Jayne Mansfield, 1953

The Beatles (1964) by Robert Whitaker

24 Sep

Robert Whitaker (1939 – 20 September 2011) was a renowned British photographer, best known internationally for his many photographs of The Beatles, taken between 1964 and 1966, and for his photographs of the rock group Cream, which were used in the Martin Sharp-designed collage on the cover of their 1967 LP Disraeli Gears.

Anne Brigman photography

6 Sep

Anne Wardrope (Nott) Brigman (1869–1950) was an American photographer and one of the original members of the Photo-Secession movement in America. Her most famous images were taken between 1900 and 1920, and depict nude women in primordial, naturalistic contexts. [Wikipedia]

The Heart of the Storm

The Source, 1907

Storm Tree, 1915



Soul of the blasted pine

The cleft of the rock

The Dying Cedar

The Breeze

Photographer in the Picture

8 Jul
G.G.B. in Stutz

Jefferson unveiling

Geronimo — detail showing photographer reflected in his eye

San Francisco Mt. from its base

Ruins of the Pueblo San Juan, New Mexico

Matson photographing in Petra, 1934

Funeral of German Catholic soldier, Hafir

Jerusalem Water Works. Ras el Ain. Reservoir. Start of pipeline

Wilbur in prone position in damaged machine, on ground after unsuccessful trial of December 14, 1903, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

John Howell, an Indianapolis newsboy, makes $.75 some days. Begins at 6 a.m., Sundays. (Lives at 215 W. Michigan St.)

Cheap partly-constructed houses lacking water and sewage, Lockland, Ohio

Frances Benjamin Johnston on a balcony of the State, War and Navy Building with a tripod-mounted camera, photographing an unidentified man

A Kodak creates a sensation

Two unidentified women being photographed

Frances Benjamin Johnston, three-quarter length portrait, holding and looking down at camera, facing slightly left

Mountain Home, Leesburg vic., Loudoun County, Virginia

Itinerant photographer in Columbus, Ohio
Farm Utilities Corp. window

Two photographers taking each others’ picture with hand-held cameras while perched on a roof

Photographers shooting Cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C. 4/7/22

Wilbur Wright, Pau, France, 1909

Posing Cliff Berryman

Portrait of Billie Holiday, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946

Fashion Photography By Nina Leen

2 Jul

Nina Leen for LIFE magazine

Dorothea Lange in 1936

1 Jul

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.