Photography and Sculpture in the 19th Century

WetPlate Modernity


Early photographic discourse was expressed by representation of artwork in society and the means of still life . It consisted through the basic need and means of using and maximising on the techniques available to the photographer in this era . The long exposure times associated with early photography and the monochromatic look led individuals to focus their efforts on exposures involving still life eg sculptures . Artists and photographers were just beginning to realise and explore photographys full potential and its ability to manipulate along with the reproductive strengths one gains in making copys of an artefact . This was realised by people using their creative talents with artistic arrangements in front of a lens . The clues to photographys emerging influence on peoples attitudes and its future potential and importance to our culture are subtly hinted at in these arrangements .

The French photographer Francois Alfphonse Fortier made outdoor compositions portraying realistic casual scenes one might expect to see in this era , “ of still life roman busts and sculptures “ , along with typical documents , set against a textured backdrop . But … to achieve these images with the technical aspects involved with that days photographic equipment eg light required in order to achieve proper exposure means that they would have needed to have been previously arranged outside in direct sunlight for a long time . This is proof of Alphonse having to pre arrange the objects and thus deceiving the viewer . So … We have evidence of photographys nature to falsehood as well as artistic discourse . ( Homosapiens revealing their true nature in an alternate mirrored reality not fully understood thus innocently reflecting their souls ) ?


The still life had long since been established through painting but now had the extra dimension of photographic realism and control with the decision of different audiences . The phenomenological domination of our species is as much a consequence of photography , or of any other invention as result of it , ever since its dawn . The full realisation of our own mortality and inner yearnings through what we seek is shown to us with this subconscious mirror of our own desires and reflections and what we have ourselves portrayed throughout photographys short history . The inclusion in an image of many layers of a cultures history awarely or not , for the one who seeks it , is itself one of photographys prizes and valuable aspects .

Our need to own works of art and valuable items and thus sharing their beauty and wealth was first introduced by the daguerrotype and photography . But …the originality of the first true artifacts aura cannot be held . Although societys urge to want to do so may have been a direct result of this and photographys ability to copy and why it therefore came about . Thus celebrating mans desire for esteemed material objects and intelligent works of art previously only kept by the ruling patriarchy , now , suddenly , all of a countrys subjects could own and be a part of this glorious wealth wether by hand or eye .

These previously stated photographic discourse’s along with a conceptual genre were starting to show with hippolyte bayards artistic methods . He produced a type of 3D representation with numerous images from different perspectives of a nude female that appeared to put the camera into motion and exceeded photographys limitations ( Being quite possibly the first hints at moving film ) ?

Photography has followed many paths according to demand and needs of its owners to find new ways of exploiting its workings and this in turn has led us to a more indepth understanding of how beneficial it is to us and why we have so preciously set aside a worthy spot for which it can proudly sit whilst contemplating back along its evolutionary path and onwards towards the ideas we have yet to discover .


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