A history of photography

Where would we be without our cameras?

c. 1827–now

Beginner's guide

"To collect photographs is to collect the world."
—Susan Sontag, On Photography (1977)

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

Will Wilson, Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange
Will Wilson, Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange

Referencing the photographs of Edward Curtis, Wilson intends to produce a contemporary visual reimagining of Native American culture through his photographs.

Sally Mann, <em>Blowing Bubbles</em>
Sally Mann, Blowing Bubbles

Sally Mann’s iconic series “Immediate Family” features intimate black-and-white photographs of the artist's children, who eat, sleep, and play in an idyllic Southern landscape.

Figures & Fictions: Santu Mofokeng
Figures & Fictions: Santu Mofokeng

Mofokeng lives in Johannesburg where he began his career as a photojournalist, but has long been engaged with the poetic and symbolic potential of black and white photography.

Birdhead – ‘We Photograph Things That Are Meaningful To Us’
Birdhead – ‘We Photograph Things That Are Meaningful To Us’

Shanghai based photographers Ji Weiyu and Song Tao, aka Birdhead, make art about everyday life in their home town.

José Yalenti, <em>Architecture or Twilight</em>
José Yalenti, Architecture or Twilight

Two important media were intertwined in 1950s Brazil: architecture and photography.

Alexander Rodchenko, <em>At the Telephone</em>
Alexander Rodchenko, At the Telephone

At the Telephone reveals Rodchenko's ongoing interest in depicting the rapidly changing world (of newspapers, cameras, and telephones) in new and unexpected ways.

Annie Leibovitz, <em>Queen Elizabeth II</em>
Annie Leibovitz, Queen Elizabeth II

This picture was taken to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s official state visit to the United States in 2007.

Marey, <em>Joinville Soldier Walking</em>
Marey, Joinville Soldier Walking

The title of the photograph, Joinville Soldier Walking, suggests that this image of lines and dots in wavy bands represents a walking soldier. But how?

Richard Avedon, <em>Audrey Hepburn, New York, January 1967</em>
Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn, New York, January 1967

If the repeated face had not been the identifiably famous face of Audrey Hepburn emphatically reproduced by Avedon, this experimental photograph might not still resonate with us in the twenty-first century

Gertrud Arndt, <em>Self-Portrait with Veil</em>
Gertrud Arndt, Self-Portrait with Veil

Arndt’s choice to pose herself among so many textures, clothes, and props in Self-Portrait with Veil suggests she was well aware of the power of photography to interrogate gender roles.

Lotte Jacobi, <em>Albert Einstein</em>
Lotte Jacobi, Albert Einstein

Jacobi seems to have been able to see more facets of Einstein than the editors of Life cared to share with their readership.

Lotte Jacobi, <em>Head of a Dancer</em>
Lotte Jacobi, Head of a Dancer

Who was this dancer, and why was her body not shown?

Selected Contributors

Select contributors