Fantastic Factory

The Search for Independence

The Magic of the Arrested Moment

In the 1880s the American Edward Muybridge and the French photographer Etienne Marey evolved techniques for photographing people and animals in the process of movement, with this divided into several phases. The Russian Sigizmund Yurkovsky produced the prototype of the curtain-slit shutter; cameras with a more sophisticated shutter of this type as evolved by Ottomar Anschuetz were manufactured by the Herz Firm of Germany.

A new era in amateur photography was ushered in when George Eastman developed his cellulose film and the first Kodak hand cameras were manufactured. Photographers in different countries mastered speed techniques for the taking of still pictures.

True to Life

A new democratic school of photography with the emphasis on verisimilitude emerged to take over from the old approach as expressed among others by Rejlander, Robinson and Karelin. Briefly described are the careers of Peter Henry Emerson, Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, and, especially Alfred Stieglitz, the last of whom turned over a new page in the annals of photography as an art in the USA. Also noted are such news photographers as Jakob A. Riis and Lewis Wickes Hine. In an account about Maxim Dmitriyev, the father of Russian publicistic photography, who was highly active in this field between the 1880s and early 1900s, his close connections with the revolutionary democratic movement of the time and his friendship with the proletarian author Maxim Gorky, are highlighted.

Others deserving of note were Dmitry Yermakov who did much fine ethnographic genre photography in Georgia and Armenia, the Urals photographers Valery Metenkov and Nikolai Terekhov, and the Polish-born Ukrainian photographers Mikhail Greim and Iosif Khmelevsky, Karl Bulla, Alexander Saveliyev and Pyotr Otsup, Russia's first press photographers, who made a name for themselves at the turn of the century, subsequently chronicled the events of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. There is praise for Eugene Atget, the Grand Old Man of early-20th-century French realist photography, who along with Dmitriyev and Stieglitz most strikingly illustrated turn-of-the-century photography's switch towards verisimilitude.

Conflict and Co-operation

Comments on photography by Hippolyte Adolphe Taine, the noted French art historian and critic, Pavel Chistyakov, teacher of many Russian artists and himself painter, Auguste Rodin, the famous French sculptor, and Apollinary Vasnetsov, painter and brother of the more famous Victor Vasnetsov, are cited. Assessments of photography's contribution to the arts were conflicting. Its close link with painting is illustrated by examples culled from the work of Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugin and other artists. Such noted explorers as Pyotr Kozlov and authors as Emile Zola and George Bernard Shaw were capable photographers.

The Russian microbiologist and Nobel prizewinner Ilya Mechnikov especially appreciated photography's ability to "record passing life". The noted Russian naturalist Kliment Timiryazev ardently advocated photography as an art in its own right. With the cinema in the offing, photography as the first of the arts to derive from pictorial technology, had entrenched itself in art proper and in the illustrated press as the image-fixing recorder of events.