Since the invention of photography, legions of practitioners have mined its artistic and practical potential, paying particular attention to its novel depiction of space and time, its utility as a tool for documentation and exploration, and its distinctive take on modernism and modernity. This volume explores the ways in which this new medium—photography—and this new apparatus—the camera—evolved during its first century, from the masterworks of William Henry Fox Talbot, one of photography’s inventors, to the portraits of Julia Margaret Cameron, Nadar, and Gertrude Käsebier; the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge; surveys of landscape and architecture by American and European practitioners; the documentary images of Carleton Watkins, Eugène Atget, and Lewis Hine; and the modernist works of Karl Blossfeldt, Edward Steichen, and Paul Strand.
This publication provides a wide-ranging look at a medium so thoroughly and instantly modern that it is represented in MoMA’s collection by works that predate any of the Museum’s paintings or sculptures by a full forty years. And now, more than 175 years later, the modern spirit of early photography remains intact, and Photography at MoMA: 1840 to 1920 provides a record of its contradictions, aspirations, and achievements.
This is the final volume in the three-volume Photography at MoMA series, which draws upon the exceptional depth of the Museum's collection to tell a new history of photography.