Every so often, I am reminded of the tectonic shifts in photography that seem to skip under the radar in our exploding world of photography and photographers. No harm, no foul — but it snaps my head back into place when pointing these out from time to time.
Mary Warner Marian’s book 100 Ideas that Changed Photography does a damn nice job highlighting some of these shifts. It’s her personal take on the most influential ideas that have shaped photography, from the daguerreotype in the early 19th century up to the digital revolution and beyond.
Now… top “100” lists are always risky business. Inevitable omissions beget unavoidable criticism; the author’s authority (and intelligence) gets questioned; the business of “TOP 100” lists is decried. Not so long ago, when I created a little 240 page book of portraits titled “Seattle 100, which featured my personal curation of 106 people influentially driving culture in Seattle, it was not to prescribe the “best” 100…not “THE” 100, but simply A 100 if you catch my drift. Fortunately for us, Marian’s book seems to take the same approach — curated list of her own design and one that I respect. Ultimately, this book is a reminder that much of the fear and chatter expressed in our modern day, the alleged affronts to the “craft” of photography by new technologies, are seriously misplaced. The art of capturing light has been evolving since Christian Gobrecht first illustrated the workings of a camera obscura.
As the author Marien puts it:
While it may seem that a new photo technology is born every day, photography is still what we make it, not what it makes us.
Images and captions courtesy of Laurence King.