Delving Deeper Into the History of Photography

Week 8

Question 1

Pick three events in the timeline from this week’s lesson History of Photography: An Introduction, and find photographs of the event on the Internet or in the library and write a paragraph explaining the event in more detail. Include your photographs in the description.

The oldest surviving camera photograph

View from the Window at Le Gras is a heliographic image and the oldest surviving camera photograph. It was created by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827 at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France, and shows parts of the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, as seen from a high window.
Niépce captured the scene with a camera obscura focused onto a pewter plate thinly coated with Bitumen of Judea, a naturally occurring asphalt. The bitumen hardened in the brightly lit areas, but in the dimly lit areas it remained soluble and could be washed away with a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum. A very long exposure in the camera was required, traditionally said to be eight hours, but now believed to be several days.

Introduction of Daguerreotype

In 1839Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre publicly introduces his daguerreotype process, which produces highly detailed permanent photographs on silver-plated sheets of copper. At first, it requires several minutes of exposure in the camera, but later improvements reduce the exposure time to a few seconds. The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process in the history of photography. A great number of daguerreotypes, especially portraits, were made in the mid-19th century; the technique was supplanted by the wet collodion process.

First photographically illustrated book to be commercially published

The Pencil of Nature (1844–46), written by William Henry Fox, was the first book with photographic illustrations. The book detailed Talbot’s development of the calotype process and included 24 calotype prints, each one pasted in by hand, illustrating some of the possible applications of the new technology. They include a variety of architectural studies, scenes, still-lifes, and closeups, as well as facsimiles of prints, sketches, and text. Due to the long exposure times involved, however, Talbot included only one portrait, The Ladder. Though he was no artist, Talbot also attempted to illustrate how photography could become a new form of art with images like The Open Door.

Question 2

Throughout this lesson you’ve learnt about the various techniques used and inventors that contributed to the art form that is Photography. Choose only one, do some additional research and in your own words write a report on why you think the chosen technique contributed to what we are able to do today through photography.

I grew up using a Kodak roll film camera. I remember the excitement of taking the roll to the shop to be developed and, a few days later, open the envelop and see all those pictures I took weeks (or months) prior. I was surprised to learn in this week’s lesson that this was already possible a century before, thanks to George Eastman’s invention of the roll film and the first Kodak camera.

George Eastman takes pictures with his Kodak camera

Before that, photography was only available for the few who could afford it. The cameras and gear at the time were large, heavy and cumbersome, and the wet place processes used back then required the photographer to do the development. This added to the time, expense, and skill level needed to make a photograph. It was 1888 when the American entrepreneur invented a game-changing dry and flexible photographic film that came in a roll. Besides, the film was designed for use in Eastman’s newly designed, user-friendly Kodak cameras. This innovative camera and film combination represents a turning point in photography, when the industry began shifting from expensive, time-consuming processes enjoyed by the few, to cheaper and easier snapshots that can be done by the many.

The Kodak camera was a box-style camera requiring no adjustments or prior photographic knowledge. To use the camera, the photographer simply armed the shutter by pulling up on the string (located on the front right of the camera), pointed the camera at the subject, and then pressed the shutter release. After taking a photograph, a key on top of the camera was used to wind the film onto the next frame. There is no viewfinder on the camera; instead, two V-shaped lines on the top of the camera leather are intended to aid aiming the camera at the subject. These steps were clearly explained in the camera’s instruction manual and were used to promote the ease of the camera along with the slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest”.

For $25 at the time (around $625 in today’s money), anyone could purchase the device, preloaded with enough film for 100 pictures. After finishing the roll, the camera could be sent to the Kodak factory for developing and printing at a cost of $10. The camera, loaded with a fresh roll of film, was returned with the negatives and mounted prints. Although the price was still high, the Kodak camera was accessible for far more people than before. Amateur photography grew significantly, which lead to an enormous demand for new rollable film.

Two rolls of film with a 1888 Kodak Camera, leather case and wooden box

It is difficult to imagine how photography would be today without the invention of the roll film or the Kodak camera at the end of the 19th century. Even though digital photography is the most popular choice nowadays, it is obvious the essential role film photography played in the development of modern photography. Besides that, and thanks to portable cameras such as the one created by George Eastman, we were able to document important events in history in a much easier and cheaper way than ever before.


Sources:
– Question 1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_photography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_from_the_Window_at_Le_Gras
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_photography_technology
http://www.daguerreobase.org/en/knowledge-base/what-is-a-daguerreotype
https://www.britannica.com/technology/daguerreotype
https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/08/the-gift-of-the-daguerreotype/401816/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daguerreotype
https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Henry-Fox-Talbot#ref99367
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pencil_of_Nature

– Question 2
https://photofocus.com/inspiration/history/history-of-photography-introduction-of-kodak/
https://petapixel.com/2016/07/12/two-unexposed-rolls-1880s-kodak-film-acquired-eastman-museum/
https://www.thoughtco.com/george-eastman-history-of-kodak-1991619
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/07/the-last-known-roll-of-kodak-film-from-1888/490787/
https://www.wired.com/2007/09/dayintech-0904-2/
https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_760118



Colour Theory

Week 7

RGB and CMYK

RGB stands for red, green and blue. It’s the colour system used by monitors, digital cameras and scanners. In these devices, the colour is created by the effect of light moving directly into the eye, i.e, the more light is added, the lighter the result gets. The brightness of an RGB image is messured from 0-255.

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). It’s the colour system used by printers. In a printer, the colour is created by mixing ink; the more colour (ink) is added, the darker the result gets. The brightness of an CMYK images is messured in ink percentage on a scale from 0-100.

COLOUR SCHEMES

I created four colour schemes making use of the tool Adobe Color. Here are my results.

Monochromatic
Analogous

PHOTO COLOUR EFFECTS

For this part I had to use a colour photo and create different colour effects using Photoshop.

Original
Fluorescent duotone
Monochrome look
Split toning
Sepia (colour effect of my choice)

BOOK COVER

For this last part of the assignment I had to design a book cover for one of the following titles:
– “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin
– “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
– “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I must make use of colour to express the desired meaning, and the cover should show the title and the author’s name.

My choice was “The Secret Garden” and I used secondary colours to express naivety, honesty and harmony.


Sources:
http://digital-media-ba.blogspot.com/2015/10/rgb-vscmyk.html
https://www.freeimages.com/photo/trondheim-old-town-1381869

Logo Design – Sketches

As we learned in week 3, sketching is the starting point of the idea development process. It’s crucial to put your ideas on paper before trying to use a computer drawing program.
For me it’s been easier to draw than I thought it would be, I enjoy the process, and I come up with more ideas while sketching them because I can “see” them, not only on my mind.
It is a good practice to sketch often to get better at it, so the process becomes more natural with time.

For the Mandatory Assignment 2, the brief was to design a logo for a company named “Food & Malt”. They will serve homemade good quality food with a great selection of beers to complement each meal. The target audience is young urban individuals, 18 to 35-year-old, interested in culture, food, design, trends and the night scene.

After doing some research and a brainstorming session where I wrote down all the ideas I could think of, I started to draw the ones that I thought made more sense for the briefing.

Expressing meaning – Typography

Week 6

In this Learning Activity, I had to create three A4 compositions showcasing three chosen words. The requirement was to use only one typeface per composition and only black and white. I experimented with the size, letter spacing, spacing, placement, etc.

The first word is one I created and has no dictionary definition but has a meaning for me. The term is musicappy: feeling of happiness when one listens to music. The other two words I picked from a given list and are falling and inspect.

I first sketched several ideas for each of these words:

When I was happy with these ideas, I created the following compositions using a combination of InDesign and Illustrator.

For musicappy I chose the sans-serif facetype Peaches For Breakfast that I downloaded from 1001fonts.com. I think the letters are thin enough and have a casual and “happy” feeling, which goes well with the meaning of the word. The text is curved and sits over the drawing of a smile. Lastly, I added a couple of small black ellipses at the end of the letter M, as if they were notes.

With falling I went for a bold type and chose Impact Regular. I used only uppercase letters to make the word very solid and thick. Then I cut pieces of the letters and placed them under the word as if they were falling out.

The font used for inspect is Adobe Garamond Pro Regular, both on the background text and the magnifying glass. The idea was to use an old-style serif face like it would be used in a book.

Create a logo using Gestalt Principles

Weeks 4-5

The goal for this Learning Activity was to recreate the Unilever logo using one of the Gestalt principles.

The original logo is a combination of a symbol and a wordmark with the name of the brand. It has the shape of the letter U -which stands for Unilever- made up of different icons. Even though there are many shapes, the design looks neat and straightforward.

The Gestalt principle used in this design is proximity: several objects or elements that are close in proximity to each other (icons) are seen as a group (the letter U).

I started the process by researching the company and the meaning behind their logo. Unilever makes some of the best-known brands in the world that produce cleaning products, food and refreshments, and products for personal care and beauty. Each of the 25 icons shaping the big U represents an aspect of the business; all of them have a meaning. I looked closely at the little symbols and realised that many are related to nature, science and health.

After that, I began sketching everything that came to mind, using different Gestalt principles. Here are my first ideas:

My three favourite versions are the following, using the principles of closure, continuation and figure/ground:

Closure

Continuation

Figure/ground

Finally, I picked the one where I applied figure/ground to create it in a vector format. The reason why I chose this one is that, in my opinion, is the cleanest design. Besides, it represents a drop of water, which is in agreement with the nature theme I noticed in some of the icons from the original logo. Thanks to the figure/ground principle, the eye either sees the droplet or the shape of the letter U.


Sources:

https://www.unilever.com/about/who-we-are/our-logo/