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!

László Moholy-Nagy, <i>Photogram</i>
László Moholy-Nagy, Photogram

László Moholy-Nagy's Photogram forces the viewer to question what a photograph is.

Binh Danh, <em>Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite CA, May 31, 2012</em>
Binh Danh, Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite CA, May 31, 2012

Can we ever really see and experience a site without comparing it to the photographs of that same scene?

Joel Sternfeld, <em>On This Site—The Stonewall Inn</em>
Joel Sternfeld, On This Site—The Stonewall Inn

On This Site reminds us of the many tragedies that have marked American history and yet remain unmarked, on-site and in the present.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, <em>View from the Window at Le Gras</em>
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, View from the Window at Le Gras

Niépce's heliograph is the earliest surviving camera-made photograph.

John Whipple, William Bond, and George Bond, <em>The Moon</em>, No. 37
John Whipple, William Bond, and George Bond, The Moon, No. 37

Achieving clear daguerreotypes from the unprecedented process of photographing through a telescope was anything but easy.

Bernd and Hilla Becher, <em>Water Towers</em>, 1988
Bernd and Hilla Becher, Water Towers, 1988

The Bechers captured industrial forms with stunning austerity and incredible consistency.

Photograph of Abdülhamid II
Photograph of Abdülhamid II

The Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II understood the power of photographic representation.

Trevor Paglen, <em>The Black Sites—The Salt Pit, Northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan</em>
Trevor Paglen, The Black Sites—The Salt Pit, Northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan

Paglen’s photographs of the CIA’s black sites speak to an enduring quality of photography as a means of visual testimony.

Chris McCaw, <em>Sunburned, GSP #166, Mohave/Winter Solstice</em>
Chris McCaw, Sunburned, GSP #166, Mohave/Winter Solstice

Sunburn GSP #166 (Mohave/Winter Solstice Day) traces the arc of the Sun over four hours as it moved across the sky in the Mojave Desert during the Winter solstice

Édouard Baldus, <em>Cloister of St. Trophîme, Arles</em>
Édouard Baldus, Cloister of St. Trophîme, Arles

Baldus’s Cloister of St. Trophîme, Arles aspired to use photography to make an imagined reality visible, tangible, and therefore achievable.

Muybridge, <em>The Attitudes of Animals in Motion</em><br>Getty Conversations
Muybridge, The Attitudes of Animals in Motion
Getty Conversations

Have you ever wondered what it took to take a photograph in the 1800s?

Stan Douglas, <em>Every Building on 100 West Hastings</em>
Stan Douglas, Every Building on 100 West Hastings

How do we picture a shifting urban landscape constantly on the verge of disappearing?

Selected Contributors

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