Photography is the newest of the
media. While artists had always experimented with fixing negative images on
paper through the use of varied chemicals, papers, and instruments,
photography and the camera as we know it, evolved less than 200 years ago.
The uniqueness of the medium lies in its ability to capture the immediate
moment, a slice of time, in a fraction of a second. When the artist clicks
the button on the camera, the camera records all visual that lies before it
without censoring or editing anything.
The early photographs of the 19th
century were regarded as novelties and experimental in their ability to capture
street scenes and people posed in studios. Artists began to use photography,
not as a medium unto itself, but as a study tool to better understand human
anatomy. Rather than models standing in their studio for several hours
without moving, models could be photographed and the photographs would record
the naturalistic details for later in-depth study by the artists. As
developing times decreased, photography became more practical. Though
chemical accelerators shortened the exposure time to one minute, models
needed to stand perfectly still or else the photograph would become
blurred. But at what point does this experimentation with new
technologies and chemicals leave the realm of scientific inquiry and enter
the realm of art?