When the light used to fall on the silver salt powder in the 18th century, it produced wonders and hysteria among the people as if something out of a fairy-tale had appeared in front of them. The blurriness, the texture, the shaded edges, and everything that made a photographer’s aesthetic would and will impact our hearts. Photography was considered to be a craft in its earlier ages. A photographer was seen as someone similar to a carpenter or a sculptor or an artist.
For nearly 100 years people neglected the vibes of photographs, as none of them appeared in any kind of art show or art galleries.
This changed, however, with the work of innovators such as Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams, who transformed the perception of photography and elevated it into fine art.
Stieglitz was the first to introduce photography into art galleries in the 1900s, first by founding his own, which he called “The Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession” in 1905 and then “291” in 1908.
Stieglitz placed the photographs next to sculptures and paintings in his gallery. Stieglitz didn’t hesitate to present his work of photographs, thus showing that photos could inspire as much as paintings and may often emerge as some unique form of art.
It was also in Stieglitz’s gallery that modern artists first understood the potential of photography as an art form. One of the best examples is Man Ray, who discovered photography thanks to Stieglitz and went on to become one of the most versatile photographers of the 20th century, notably famous for his visual pun on Ingres’s violin.
Stieglitz being an innovator, never stopped experimenting. He became widely famous for his unconventional and unusual portraits such as the series on the hands of his wife, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe, and nearly abstract works such as his Equivalents series of cloud and sky photographs, which were often unconventionally oriented. Another major figure in the development of fine art photography is Ansel Adams. His work not only broke new aesthetic ground but also supported the early environmental movement in the United States. He also developed a new system to control exposure and contrast that gave his photographs a crispness and depth rarely seen before. In addition, Ansel Adams’s collaborators founded the Photography Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which had an important influence on the perception of photography in the art world. Some of Adams’s works were first exhibited there, including one of his most striking photographs. By the early 1940s, photography had officially become an art form in the United States, and it soon received the same consideration in Europe and beyond.
Late 19th century onwards photography began to influence the world and its culture. The awe and magic created by the photographs began to change the perspective of people toward the world. Photos became the new eyes, which saw what no human eyes could.