Early photography

Photography has always been a controversial medium—is it an art or a science?

1826 - c. 1870

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David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, <em>Newhaven Fishwives</em>
David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Newhaven Fishwives

Hill and Adamson spent considerable time documenting the daily life and activity of the village of Newhaven, making upwards of 130 calotypes during their visits. 

Honoré Daumier, <em>Nadar Elevating Photography to the Height of an Art</em>
Honoré Daumier, Nadar Elevating Photography to the Height of an Art

Despite the medium’s infancy, Daumier’s lithograph leads the viewer to believe that 1862 Paris was teeming with photography studios.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, <em>The Artist’s Studio / Still Life with Plaster Casts</em>
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, The Artist’s Studio / Still Life with Plaster Casts

Daguerre’s The Artist’s Studio shows off his new medium’s promise—photography—as an art form.

Eadweard Muybridge, <em>The Horse in Motion</em>
Eadweard Muybridge, The Horse in Motion

When the first eleven images of Sallie Gardner are seen in rapid succession at a speed of at least 24 frames per second, they allow us to re-experience her run.  

Anna Atkins and the cyanotype process
Anna Atkins and the cyanotype process

Although today Atkins’s prints are sold and viewed as art, they were originally made as botanical illustrations.

Roger Fenton, <em>Landscape with clouds</em>
Roger Fenton, Landscape with clouds

How the only copy of this landscape photograph is revolutionary

Julia Margaret Cameron, <em>Mrs. Herbert Duckworth</em>
Julia Margaret Cameron, Mrs. Herbert Duckworth

Cameron’s evocative portrait captures her young niece… before she became the mother of a literary giant.

Lady Clementina Hawarden, <em>Clementina and Florence Elizabeth Maude</em>
Lady Clementina Hawarden, Clementina and Florence Elizabeth Maude

This pioneering woman used the new medium of photography to add dramatic flair to her domestic life.

Louis Daguerre, <em>Paris Boulevard</em> or <em>View of the Boulevard du Temple</em>
Louis Daguerre, Paris Boulevard or View of the Boulevard du Temple

Daguerre’s groundbreaking technique turned Paris into a ghost town.

Early Photography: Niépce, Talbot and Muybridge
Early Photography: Niépce, Talbot and Muybridge

Photography emerged as a marvel of the modern world, but its early years were marked by technological obstacles.

Selected Contributors