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Photo: A History From Behind the Lens

Photographers don't merely capture the world they live in; they interpret it. This elegant program follows the development of photography from its beginnings to more recent times, from the surrealists to the primitives, the press, pictorialism, experimental photography of the 1920s, conceptual photography, and the art of digital illusion. 12 episodes, 5 hrs, 2 DVDs. SDH, viewer's guide. Mature audiences. From Athena.

Disc 1

Episode 1: Surrealist Photography

In 1928, the surrealists’ favorite photographer was a machine: the photo booth, an American invention that had recently arrived in Paris, making self-portraiture available to all. Through the manipulation of images, the search was on to find the surrealism hidden in reality itself.

 

Episode 2: The Primitives of Photography, 1850–1860

As photographers looked at the world with an artist’s eye, photography became a new means to interpret reality. In this golden age between photography’s invention and its transformation into an industry, war was a new topic for documentation.

 

Episode 3: The New German Objectivity

The Dusseldorf school of the 1960s sought to preserve the memory of a disappearing world as the industrial landscape began to change. Its rigorous documentary style eliminated all elements of subjectivity, though the school’s need to control images led to digital manipulation.

 

Episode 4: Staged Photography

To tell a story better, photographs were scripted, executed, and then assembled by computer. Reality became a construction process in which all were free to follow their own imaginations.

 

Episode 5: Press Usage

As photography escaped the rigidity of its rectangular format, magazines covered everything from the Dustbowl to New York nightlife to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. To avoid being overtaken by television, photography relied on unique images that created vivid memories.

 

Episode 6: Pictorialism

Pictorialists responded to the nostalgia for hand-produced paintings and the rejection of art generated by machines. Endeavoring to free themselves from the camera’s mechanical objectivity, they relied on laboratory work as much as the shot itself for inspiration.

 

Disc 2

Episode 7: New Vision: Experimental Photography of the 1920s

A wind of madness swept over European photography in the 1920s. Verticals and horizontals were abandoned, as were the rules of perspective handed down since the Renaissance. With its unexpected vantage points, the New Vision saw the diagonal as the axis of modernity.

 

Episode 8: Photographing Intimacy

The act of photographing one’s private world affirmed the importance of a subjective point of view in images captured for the photographer’s personal use. Taking the camera into places out of bounds to others made the rest of us voyeurs.

 

Episode 9: The Inventors

The breakthrough of daguerreotypes encouraged people to commission portraits, or “likenesses,” as they were known. Because subjects had to pose for hours, few children featured in these early photographs. For the daguerreotype, the ideal portrait subject was a dead one.

 

Episode 10: Found Images

Most of the estimated 350 billion pictures taken since the beginning of photography in the early 19th century have no artistic merit or intent. But that hasn’t stopped these so-called found photos from being used as raw material for new forms of photomontage.

 

Episode 11: Conceptual Photography

In the 1960s, the conceptual photography movement strived to express thoughts not with words, but with pictures. Amateur cameras captured reality with absolute neutrality, gestures revealed a casual attitude towards photography, and deconstruction evoked the relationship between image and concept.

 

Episode 12: After the Photo

Since the invention of the digital camera, photographers have both embraced and rejected the art of digital illusion. Some photographers “perfect” reality with photo manipulation software, while others distort images to heighten their unreality. Still others return to the simpler technology of pinhole cameras.

12-page booklet with a glossary of photography terms, a history of camera types, a timeline of breakthroughs in photography, and articles on the history of photographic portraits and image manipulation.

Packaging: Boxed set

Run Time:TBD

Format: Widescreen

Number of discs: 2

Language: English

Subtitles: No

Color or B&W: Color

CC: No

SDH: Yes

Region Code: 1

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Rating: NR.

“Unravels the mystery of images to reveal their complexity and beauty” —Le Monde

17717 DVD

$49.99

Photo: A History From Behind the Lens
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Disc 1

Episode 1: Surrealist Photography

In 1928, the surrealists’ favorite photographer was a machine: the photo booth, an American invention that had recently arrived in Paris, making self-portraiture available to all. Through the manipulation of images, the search was on to find the surrealism hidden in reality itself.

 

Episode 2: The Primitives of Photography, 1850–1860

As photographers looked at the world with an artist’s eye, photography became a new means to interpret reality. In this golden age between photography’s invention and its transformation into an industry, war was a new topic for documentation.

 

Episode 3: The New German Objectivity

The Dusseldorf school of the 1960s sought to preserve the memory of a disappearing world as the industrial landscape began to change. Its rigorous documentary style eliminated all elements of subjectivity, though the school’s need to control images led to digital manipulation.

 

Episode 4: Staged Photography

To tell a story better, photographs were scripted, executed, and then assembled by computer. Reality became a construction process in which all were free to follow their own imaginations.

 

Episode 5: Press Usage

As photography escaped the rigidity of its rectangular format, magazines covered everything from the Dustbowl to New York nightlife to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. To avoid being overtaken by television, photography relied on unique images that created vivid memories.

 

Episode 6: Pictorialism

Pictorialists responded to the nostalgia for hand-produced paintings and the rejection of art generated by machines. Endeavoring to free themselves from the camera’s mechanical objectivity, they relied on laboratory work as much as the shot itself for inspiration.

 

Disc 2

Episode 7: New Vision: Experimental Photography of the 1920s

A wind of madness swept over European photography in the 1920s. Verticals and horizontals were abandoned, as were the rules of perspective handed down since the Renaissance. With its unexpected vantage points, the New Vision saw the diagonal as the axis of modernity.

 

Episode 8: Photographing Intimacy

The act of photographing one’s private world affirmed the importance of a subjective point of view in images captured for the photographer’s personal use. Taking the camera into places out of bounds to others made the rest of us voyeurs.

 

Episode 9: The Inventors

The breakthrough of daguerreotypes encouraged people to commission portraits, or “likenesses,” as they were known. Because subjects had to pose for hours, few children featured in these early photographs. For the daguerreotype, the ideal portrait subject was a dead one.

 

Episode 10: Found Images

Most of the estimated 350 billion pictures taken since the beginning of photography in the early 19th century have no artistic merit or intent. But that hasn’t stopped these so-called found photos from being used as raw material for new forms of photomontage.

 

Episode 11: Conceptual Photography

In the 1960s, the conceptual photography movement strived to express thoughts not with words, but with pictures. Amateur cameras captured reality with absolute neutrality, gestures revealed a casual attitude towards photography, and deconstruction evoked the relationship between image and concept.

 

Episode 12: After the Photo

Since the invention of the digital camera, photographers have both embraced and rejected the art of digital illusion. Some photographers “perfect” reality with photo manipulation software, while others distort images to heighten their unreality. Still others return to the simpler technology of pinhole cameras.

12-page booklet with a glossary of photography terms, a history of camera types, a timeline of breakthroughs in photography, and articles on the history of photographic portraits and image manipulation.

Packaging: Boxed set

Run Time:TBD

Format: Widescreen

Number of discs: 2

Language: English

Subtitles: No

Color or B&W: Color

CC: No

SDH: Yes

Region Code: 1

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Rating: NR.

“Unravels the mystery of images to reveal their complexity and beauty” —Le Monde