History Film Highlights

-          The following items are places to pause the video tape. You should have additional notes than just the following details. If you were absent, please write all of these notes for credit for Focus.


7a. First Impressions – Aristotle thru Frederick Archer, 1851. Discovery Channel, Fall 1988

Major Themes: 1. Photography became popular very quickly. Today, early photography is regarded very highly. 2. Control of Patent vs. giving it away freely.

-          The sale of old photos is a big business. Cost of an old photo – $4200 United Kingdom’s Pounds to US Dollars…approximately 1.8 or a total of $7.5k US. Another one at $11k pounds…$20k US!

-          Photography began when Charles Dickens was a school boy, i.e. the 1820’s

-          A dark box w/ a hole in it…that’s all a camera is

-          Camera Obscura…you can create one in your room by covering your window

o         What was needed was the ability to record an image

-          Niepce (pronounced Kne-eps) – recorded the first photograph…that took 8 hours. It was originally called a Heliograph...or sun photography.

o         Never perfected the process…but he partnered with Louis Daguerre

-          Louis Daguerre, from France – was first known for his fascinating dioramas.

o         Developed the Daguerreotype which was an image recorded onto a copper plate. Could not be reproduced. Expensive. But sharp!

o         15-30 minute exposure. First person recorded was a person who stopped to have his shoes polished.

-          Henry Fox Talbot, from England, with the Calotype, is known as the Father of Modern FILM photography. He was working on his process as early as 1835. He did not publicize his findings, and did not know of Daguerre’s work until 1839. An interesting side note is that the Daguerreotype is like the digital positive as the Calotype is to the film negative

-          Daguerre and Talbot were developing their technology’s at the same time. Talbot tried to get credit for developing process as a prior claim…but they were completely different. Daguerre’s process was much sharper, so the glory went to him even though they were one of a kind images and could not be reproduced.

-          The Daguerreotype met with a lot of enthusiasm in America, which prompted a lot of other research.

o         Samuel Morse took one of the first American portraits, along with John Drapper.

-          Robert Cornelius in 1839, took one of the first photograph with a persons eyes open, something that was difficult to do.

-          Talbot became a determined photographer. He perfected the Calotype.

o         He set up a photograph factory and was able to put together one of the first photographic books, such as the Sun Pictures of Scotland.

-          David Hill and Adamson worked on taking many pictures of people.

-          Hill took a picture of a large meeting of over 500 delegates that took him 23 years to finish as a painting. The photo helped helped him remember the details to paint.

-          The Daguerreotype and Calotype were used to make many portraits, landscapes and some of the earliest documentaries of the mid 19th century.

-          1851 was a pivotal year for early Victorian Photography.

o         The Calotype had been held back by Talbot’s control of the patent. And Daguerre died in Paris.

o         Fredrick Archer – Collodian, 1851 – made the Daguerreotype and Calotype obsolete. And so ended the era of the Pioneers of photography.

o         The Collodian provided the answer for the craving for CHEAP photography that existed be people. Archer provided the process freely, which helped photography spread to the masses (although he died broke!)


 New sheet - NOOOO BACK of Paper!!!!!!


7b. Alexander Gardner – Civil War Photographer. (Narrated by Danny Glover)

(ff over 0:28-1:55)

    - Themes: 1. Photography as a business.    2. Photography as a way to make a difference.    3. The impact of the Civil war on the development of Photography.

-          Mathew Brady – the most well known Civil War photographer.

-          Gardner has only recently come out from under the shadow of Brady as one of the most preeminent photographers of all time as having gotten the best shots. Definitely one of the most important in the development of the art.

-          Prior to the civil war photography was not used to document historical events, just portraits and landscapes.

-          Gardner was first a jeweler. He then became a journalist and a proprietor of a newspaper in Glascow. He took up many studies during his life, such as geology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, he knew shorthand, and eventually included photography. He had a strong sense to make a difference about the inequalities arising in society and longed for a way to help the poor. As a photographer, he sought the truth in every photo. [All of us have some desire to make a difference, to have an impact. Gardner learned he could make a difference with photography.]

-          For Gardner, the camera clearly had a strong pull on him with it’s ability to capture reality. The entire world was dazzled. It created a great deal of curiosity. It was understood immediately this instrument for recording documentation that was unrivaled in human history.

-          His early photographic training was from Brady.

o         In 1851, Gardner saw Brady’s Daguerreotypes...in which Gardner was impressed with what he saw.

o         In 1856, Brady hired Gardner as a photographer

-          Brady was enjoying a great deal of success as a portrait photographer

o         Failing eyesight and not feeling the need to be in every shot, he turned over his portrait studio to Gardner.

-          The two of them saw photography the war as a business venture and a historic opportunity. It is uncertain whose idea it was to start the pictures.

o         Brady put into motion the steps to record the first major battle. He personally went to the battle field at Bull Run.

o         He got caught up in the retreat as he did not get any pictures from battle.

o         He quickly learned that a lot more was needed to photograph war pictures from portrait photography.

-          The myth is that Brady was everywhere and photographed everything. But what he did was hire people to go out and photography for him.

-          Photography was in its infancy, it had only been around for 20 years.

-          Impact of Civil War on photography, and vice versa

o         While the CW was affecting the development of photography, photography was affecting the CW

§          Civil War was a Catalyst to photography

§          Photography exposed horrors of war.

-          Battle of Antietam - camera witnesses death on a large scale - 23k deaths, injured or missing.

o         One of the worst battles

o         Gardner was there to witness the battle, which was the first time major battle recorded on film in all of its graphic nature.

o         He was in a race for time as burial teams were waiting for him to finish taking pictures.

o         Technical difficulties being worked out in the field helped speed up the process. - This helped improved the success of photography.

o         The process of manually adjusting the exposure in the field is relevant to how the pinhole cameras are taken now.

o         Images led to public outcry, demand for an end to the war.


Later in the video

o         Alexander Gardner left Brady's business and took several of his best photographer with him. One of the things he told his employees was that they would get credit for the photos that they took.