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!

Peaks and perils: The life of Carleton Watkins
Peaks and perils: The life of Carleton Watkins

In the 1860s Carleton Watkins loaded a team of mules with his mammoth-plate camera and glass negatives and ventured into Yosemite Valley.

Martín Chambi, <em>Juan de la Cruz Sihuana, Cuzco Studio</em>
Martín Chambi, Juan de la Cruz Sihuana, Cuzco Studio

This photograph of Sihuana is a sensitive portrait of an Indigenous Peruvian man in traditional dress.

The story of Ernest Cole, a black photographer in South Africa during apartheid
The story of Ernest Cole, a black photographer in South Africa during apartheid

The story of Ernest Cole, a black photographer in South Africa during apartheid

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

Rodchenko depicted 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 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

Audrey Hepburn emphatically reproduced by Avedon.

Selected Contributors

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