Fine Art Photography has roots going back to the camera obscura, which projected an image on a wall through a pin-hole, and which was used by artists such as Canaletto to paint realistic photograph-like scenes. The process of photography as we know it today was invented and developed in the early 1800s. Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) explored the fine art possibilities of lens and film in the Victorian era. Other notable early fine art photographers include Eugene Atget (1857-1927), Alfred Steiglitz (1864-1946), Edward S. Curtis (1864-1946), Edward Steichen (1879-1973), Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976), Ansel Adams (1902-1984), Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), Robert Doisneau (1912-1994), and O. Winston Link (1914-2001).
Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)
Born in 1902 in San Francisco, California, Adams was trained to be a concert pianist, but began experimenting with photography when a youth. After joining the Sierra Club at 17, he combined his loves of photography and the outdoors to become the most eminent nature photographer of the 20th century. He helped form Group/f64, a group of nature photographers, including Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston. His photographs of Yosemite, the Grand Tetons, Mt. McKinley, the Snake River, the California Redwoods, and other natural locales have been instrumental in helping to promote the conservation and environmental movements.
Edward S. Curtis (1868 - 1952)
Born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, Edward S. Curtis became an apprentice photographer at age 16. In 1887 his family moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began working as a professional photographer. In 1895 he photographed Princess Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle (or Sealth), starting a long career photographing Native Americans, including the Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Navaho, Hopi, and other American Indian tribes. His brother, Asahel Curtis, also became a noted photographer.
Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898 - 1995)
born to a Jewish family in Dirschau, West Prussia, in what was then part of Imperial Germany, after being wounded while serving in the German Army in WWI, Alfred Eisenstaedt worked as a freelance photographer in Berlin, photographing Hitler, Goebbels, and Mussolini, among others. To escape persecution by the Nazis, he emigrated to the United States in 1935, where he worked as a photographer for Life magazine from 1936 to 1972. He died in 1995 in Martha's Vinyard, Massachussets.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 - 2000)
Born in Chanteloup-en-Brie, near Paris, France, Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the pioneers of modern photojournalism and one of the early users of the 35mm film format. Trained as an oil painter, he began experimenting with photography in the late 1920s, but took it up full-time in the early 1930s while recuperating from blackwater fever, which he'd contracted on the Ivory Coast of Africa. An early influence was the Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi who espoused capturing the immediate object as opposed to posed subjects. In Paris, he shared a photography studio with Robert Capa. In the late 1930s, he began working as a photojournalist. Working as a photographer in the French Army at the start of WWII, he was captured by the Germans in 1940, spending 35 months as a prisoner-of-war, before escaping in 1942.
Robert Doisneau (1912 - 1994)
Born in Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, in the southern suburbs of Paris, France, Robert Doisneau is famous for his photographs of Parisian street life. Originally trained as a lithographer, he took up photography as a profession in the early 1930s, working for the French magazine, Le'Excelsior. In the late 1930s, he worked as a publicity photographer for Renault, until he was fired for frequent absences from work. During WWII, he joined the Resistance, both fighting and serving as a photographer.
O. Winston Link (1914 - 2001)
Born in New York City, O. Winston Link took up photography as a youth, even building his own enlarger as a teen. After studying civil engineering, Link worked as both an engineer and photographer. Following WWII, he opened his own commercial photography firm, with major corporations such as Goodrich, Alcoa, and Texaco as clients. Beginning in 1951, combining a love for both railroads and photography, Link undertook to photographically document the Norfolk & Western Railway, which was the last major railway yet to convert from steam to diesel power. Link is best known for his dramatic nighttime photographs capturing the passing of the last great steam engine locomotives.
Henri Silberman (1951 - )
Born in Paris, France, Henri Silberman grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He began experimenting with photography as a teen, buying his first camera when he was 16. Silberman is known for his black and white photographs of cityscapes and skylines, especially in New York City, including Manhattan, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and other urban scenes.
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