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Timeline

1835Talbot invents photogenic drawings, a process for producing contact prints on paper
1839Invention of Daguerreotype in France

Samuel F. B. Morse brings Daguerreotype process to the United States

1841Talbot patents his Talbotype (or “calotype”) process, the first negative–positive process in photography
1844Mathew Brady opens the Daguerreian Miniature Gallery, the first of many galleries in New York and other major cities
1850Brady publishes a collection of engravings based on photographs, A Gallery of Illustrious Americans
1851Wet collodion process, which will replace Daguerreotype, announced by Englishman Frederick Scott Archer
1857Oscar Rejlander creates multiphoto compositions, based on allegorical themes, in England
1860Brady creates flattering photograph of Abraham Lincoln, who is running for president—the first campaign photograph
1861Oliver Wendell Holmes, physician and amateur photographer, creates a popular stereoscope viewer
1861–65Brady and Alexander Gardner, along with many others, document the Civil War, sending cameramen to battle scenes
1866Carleton Watkins creates photographs of Yosemite Valley for sale to tourists
1870sTimothy O’Sullivan, William Henry Jackson, and others photograph the Western American landscape for the first time
1873First photograph is printed using the half-tone method, the foundation for later printed photographs
1877Eadweard Muybridge experiments with high-speed photo apparatus, working in Palo Alto, California, to capture frozen images of moving horses; experiments continue at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1880s
1879George Eastman invents a machine for coating photographic dry plates with emulsion, thus enabling mass production; plates are commercially produced the following year
1880Muybridge demonstrates zoopraxiscope in San Francisco, projecting photographic images in motion
1881New York Daily Graphic prints first half-tone print, a scene of Shantytown by Stephen Horgan
1882George Eastman devises a flexible gelatin film to support the emulsion on a paper backing, and a roll film holder; a machine is invented to produce the film
1882Étienne-Jules Marey invents a camera-rifle capable of recording twelve successive photographs per second, the chronophotographic gun
1885First transparent film negative invented, Eastman American Film
1887Thomas Alva Edison and W. K. L. Dickson work on inventing a motion picture camera
1888The Kodak camera is put on the market, loaded with 100 exposures on a film roll at a price of $25; advertised with slogan, “You press the button and we do the rest”—exposed film and camera must be sent back to Eastman company in Rochester, NY
1889Eastman company puts first commercial transparent roll film on market, making possible development of motion picture camera by Edison in 1891
1890Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives published, with half-tone illustrations and drawings, contributing to the revision of tenement house laws
1892The Linked Ring, a confederation of art photographers in England, is founded; Alfred Stieglitz elected a member in 1894

Frederick Ives, a pioneer in half-tone printing processes, develops the first three-color camera, the photochromoscope

1894Edison’s motion pictures studio in New Jersey produces the Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, January 7, 1894

Lumière brothers invent the cinématographe in France, projecting moving images on to a screen; the Edison vitascope brings projection to the United States a year later, in New York City

1895Public cinema programs begin, showing in Germany and France

The Pocket Kodak camera introduced

The Brownie, the first mass-market camera, is sold for $1

F. Holland Day organizes The New School of American Photography exhibition for the Royal Photographic Society in London, featuring Gertrude Käsebier, Clarence White, Edward Steichen, and Alvin Langdon Coburn

1902Alfred Stieglitz founds the Photo-Secession group in New York, an association of art photographers. He also begins editing and publishing Camera Work, a periodical devoted to photography and the arts
1903American Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, one of the first realistic film narratives, is shown

Single lens reflex camera introduced by American Graflex

1904Stieglitz curates the Photo-Secessionists exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC
1905Stieglitz and Edward Steichen open, at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City, the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession (called ‘291’), which becomes a center in the United States for art photography and modern European art

Lewis Hine photographs immigrants in his Ellis Island series

1906–08First commercially successful photographic color process, Kinemacolor, invented by George Albert Smith and Charles Urban; Englishman Clare L. Finlay invents the successful additive color process
1907First color autochromes, by Steichen, Stieglitz, and Frank Eugene, exhibited in the United States at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession
1908–14D. W. Griffith develops the foundations of motion picture technique, inventing the fade-out, close-up, soft focus, cross-cutting, iris dissolve
1910Lewis Hine, working for the National Child Labor Committee, begins his Child Labor series

Seminal show, The International Exhibition of Photography, organized by Stieglitz and held at the Albright Gallery in Buffalo, New York

1912Vest Pocket Camera introduced, also First Model Speed Graphic
1913Alvin Langdon Coburn’s abstract vortographs exhibited in London
1914Prototype Leica, 35-mm still camera, developed

Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York City is founded—runs until 1942

First movie palace, the Strand (holding 3,300) opens in New York City; nickelodeons start to become obsolete

1916Stieglitz features work of the young Paul Strand in the last two issues of Camera Work
1917End of the Photo-Secession group, Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery, and Camera Work
1918Christian Schad, in Switzerland, produces photo abstractions made without film, anticipating Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy
1919Bauhaus founded in Weimar, Germany; photography is central to curriculum

First tabloid and picture newspaper, the New York Daily News, begins publication; tabloid newspapers, with photographs crowding small pages, emerge during 1920s as a major journalistic form

1920Soviet film-maker Dziga Vertov founds cinéma-verité technique with his documentary newsreels; Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera produced
1920Edward Steichen moves from art photography to fashion, becoming chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair

Man Ray creates the rayogram, exposing objects placed on photographic paper to light

Photomontage works exhibited at first Berlin Dada exhibition

1922Robert Flaherty’s early documentary film, Nanook of the North, produced
192316-mm movie film for amateur use introduced by
Kodak

Time magazine begins publication

1924The 35-mm Leica camera (designed by German Ernst Leitz), small and easily handled, opens up news coverage and street photography
1925RCA patents RCA Photophone, a sound-on-film process; the success of The Jazz Singer in 1927 would shift movie production from silent to sound
1927Modern flashbulb, ignited by weak electric current, marketed by General Electric
1928Erich Salomon photographs famous people in Berlin for illustrated press, attracting attention as the first “candid photographs”
1929Film and Foto exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany, features European and American modernists

Rolleiflex, 2ΒΌ" twin-lens reflex camera, introduced in Germany, becomes very popular in the United States

Berenice Abbott begins photographing New York City, emulating Atget; her Changing New York project is supported by Works Progress Administration Arts Project in 1935

Stock market crashes, precipitating the Great Depression of the 1930s

1930Fortune magazine begins publication

Workers’ Film and Photo League, producing propaganda for Workers’ International Relief, started in New York—this becomes (in the 1930s) New York Film and Photo League, dedicated to showing the daily struggle of workers in still and moving images

1931Harold Edgerton invents electronic flash to capture motion at high speeds
1932Group f.64 founded by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Edward Weston, and others; dedicated to sharp focus, straight photography; their first exhibition is held in San Francisco’s M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

Lewis Hine publishes Men at Work

1933Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiates New Deal programs to deal with the Depression; Federal Arts projects founded in 1935

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first 35-mm exhibition in New York

1935March of Time newsreel series, produced by Time magazine, commences in movie theatres, changing monthly

Roy Stryker brought to Washington by Rexford Tugwell to become chief of the Historical Section, the photography unit within the Resettlement Administration (later known as the Farm Security Administration); Stryker’s first hires are Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, and Dorothea Lange; Stryker remains at the FSA until 1943

1936Robert Capa photographs the Spanish Civil War, including Death of a Loyalist Soldier

Life magazine begins, with the first cover photo by Margaret Bourke-White

Walker Evans, borrowed from the Farm Security Administration project, spends the summer in Alabama with James Agee, photographing tenant farmers; the results are published in 1941 as the photo-documentary book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

A segment of the New York Film and Photo League that had called itself Nykino in 1934, leaves to form Frontier Films

1937Margaret Bourke-White and Erskine Caldwell publish the photo-documentary book, You Have Seen Their Faces, a study of Southern poverty

The Photo League, a socially committed New York photographic society, is formed out of the old New York Film and Photo League; it includes Aaron Siskind, Max Yavno, Walter A. Rosenblum, and others

Look magazine is founded by Gardner Cowles

Edward Weston is the first photographer to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship

Beaumont Newhall organizes the first exhibition of photography at the Museum of Modern Art. The catalogue, published as Photography, 1839–1937, becomes a major text, revised in later years as The History of Photography

1938Walker Evans’s first show at the Museum of Modern Art is the basis for his book, American Photographs

Archibald MacLeish uses Farm Security Administration photos to illustrate Land of the Free

1939Dorothea Lange and Paul S. Taylor publish their photo-documentary study of the Dust Bowl migration, American Exodus

Berenice Abbott publishes Changing New York

1940Film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath by John Ford, dealing with the Great Depression and the migration of Okies to California

Lewis Hine retrospective organized by Elizabeth McCausland at the Riverside Museum in New York

1941Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane produced, with innovative sound and flashback techniques

Eastman Kodak introduces Kodacolor negative film

James Agee and Walker Evans publish Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the greatest photo-documentary of the period

1942Office of War Information established, replacing the Farm Security Administration, to coordinate wartime propaganda
1943Roy Stryker, having left the Farm Security Administration (FSA)/Office of War Information, becomes head of the Standard Oil Project, which continues in the FSA tradition of aiming to document American life; several FSA photographers hired by Stryker
1946Aaron Siskind photographs exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art
1947House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) holds hearings of leftists in cultural spheres, branding them communists

Magnum Photos, a journalistic photo cooperative, is founded in New York by Robert Capa, “Chim” (David Seymour), Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and others

Polaroid-Land camera invented by Edwin H. Land; produces a finished print in minutes

194835-mm Nikon camera introduced
1950Nancy Newhall and Paul Strand collaborate on a photo book, Time in New England
1951W. Eugene Smith’s feature photo essay in Life, Spanish Village

Film and Photo League disbands after being listed as a “subversive” organization by McCarthy

1952Cartier-Bresson’s book and exhibition (at the Louvre), The Decisive Moment

Minor White establishes the quarterly Aperture, dedicated to fine art photography

1953Life magazine starts using color
1955Edward Steichen organizes The Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art

Art in America publishes its first article on photography, by Beaumont Newhall

Roy DeCarava opens A Photographer’s Gallery

1956William Klein publishes his work in France, Life Is Good and Good for You in New York: William Klein Trance Witness Revels
1958Lightweight 16-mm movie cameras and portable tape recorders introduced, leading to cinéma-verité in France and elsewhere
1959Robert Frank’s The Americans published in the United States with preface by Jack Kerouac

Image Gallery in New York becomes first gallery devoted to photography

1962Society for Photographic Education founded by Nathan Lyons

John Szarkowski appointed curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art

1963Beaumont Newhall goes to the University of New Mexico to head the photography program

Kodak’s Instamatic camera is marketed

1964Szarkowski curates The Photographer’s Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, educating the public on how to look at photos
1966Towards a New Social Landscape (exhibition and book) is published by Nathan Lyons, including Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Danny Lyon, and Duane Michals

Cornell Capa forms the International Fund for Concerned Photography, which later becomes the International Center of Photography

1967Cornell Capa organizes the exhibition, The Concerned Photographer, featuring Dan Weiner, Werner Bischof, André Kertesz, Bruce Davidson, Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, and others

New Documents exhibition is curated by Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art, featuring Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand

Persistence of Vision exhibition, dealing with manipulated images, curated by Nathan Lyons at George Eastman House, shows work by Robert Heinecken, Ray Metzker, Jerry Uelsmann, and others

1968Earth is photographed from the moon

Exposure, newsletter of the Society of Photographic Education, becomes a journal of photography

Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations published in English, containing the classic 1936 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

1969Richard Rudisill is appointed first photographic historian to teach at the University of New Mexico

Nathan Lyons leaves Eastman House to found the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York

1970IMAX process introduced in Japan

Eliot Porter publishes Appalachian Wilderness

A.D. Coleman begins writing photography criticism for The New York Times

Jerry Uelsmann exhibition at Philadelphia Museum of Art

1971Tulsa, a chronicle of drug culture in Oklahoma, is published by Larry Clark
1972Huge crowds go to see the Diane Arbus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art; the accompanying book becomes a bestseller

Princeton endows the first chair for the history of photography in its art history department; Peter C. Bunnell is appointed

Life magazine ceases publication

Afterimage, a periodical devoted to photography, film, and video, is founded by Nathan Lyons at the Visual Studies Workshop

1974Estelle Jussim publishes Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts
1975New Topographics exhibition, featuring photographs of man-altered landscapes, organized by William Jenkins at George Eastman House

Era of Exploration: The Rise of Landscape Photography in the American West (exhibition and book) is curated by Weston Naef and James Wood at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Women of Photography: An Historical Survey, exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Art

1976Steadicam, which stabilizes portable cameras, first used in filming Rocky
1977History of Photography (quarterly journal) begins publication

Susan Sontag’s On Photography examines the social and cultural context of photography

Pictures, curated by Douglas Crimp at New York Artists Space, introduces postmodern photography, in the work of Sherri Levine, Robert Longo, and others

Philadelphia Photo Review, later changed to The Photo Review, founded by Stephen Perloff; features historical articles, reviews, and current notices on photography

1978Duane Michals publishes Homage to Cavafy, one of the first openly gay books by a photographer

The Council of Latino Photographers/USA founded in Los Angeles to promote Latino photographers

1979Fabricated to be Photographed, featuring photographs of constructions, curated by Van Deren Coke, at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; includes Les Krims, John Pfahl, Robert Cumming, and others
1980Roland Barthes’s influential Camera Lucida is published

Szarkowski’s Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art

1981IBM introduces the personal computer
1982Cindy Sherman’s photos are included in an exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Recent Color
1983Jean Baudrillard’s influential postmodern text, Simulations (with an essay on “Hyperreality”) is published

Image Scavengers exhibition, focusing on appropriated imagery, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Philadelphia

A Century of Black Photographers: 1840–1960, an exhibition, originates at Rhode Island School of Design

1984J. Paul Getty Museum, with Weston J. Naef as curator, purchases several major photography collections

Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project (Rick Dingus, Mark Klett, JoAnn Vergurg, and others) rephotographs well-known sites and images taken by Western landscape photographers

1985Richard Avedon’s Great American West
1986Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency is published

Robert Mapplethorpe’s The Black Book is published

1987Cindy Sherman, exhibition with essays by Peter Schjeldahl and Lisa Philips, at the Whitney Museum of American Art
1988Arnold Newman retrospective at New York Historical Society

Garry Winogrand retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art

Digital Photography: Captured Images, Volatile Memory, New Montage, one of first exhibitions on digital photography, at San Francisco Cameraworks

Stuart Ewen’s The All Consuming Image, on photography and consumerism, published

1989Friends of Photography in Carmel, California, re-established in San Francisco as Center for Friends of Photography

Alan Trachtenberg’s Reading American Photographs exemplifies historical approach to photography

1990Kodak announces Photo CD system

Harlem Photographs, 1932–1940/ Aaron Siskind is shown at the National Museum of American Art

Language of the Lens: Contemporary Native American Photographs, features ten Native American photographers, first of Native American exhibitions

1991First consumer digital cameras introduced

Electronic imaging used in coverage of the Gulf War

1992Digital Photography, by Mikkel Aaland and Rudolph Burger, on technical aspects, published

Sally Mann’s Immediate Family is published

Viewfinder: Black Women Photographers, written by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

1993Adobe Photoshop available for MS–DOS/Windows
1994AP/Kodak NC2000 digital camera announced for photojournalists

Naomi Rosenblum, author of A World History of Photography, writes A History of Women Photographers

Digital Imaging Technology for Preservation is published, addressing preservation and access of digital images

1995Doubletake magazine is founded at Duke Center for Documentary Studies, featuring photography and literature
1996Advanced Photo System (APS) is introduced, using 24-mm format
1998Women’s Camera Work: Self/Body/Other in American Visual Culture, by Judith Fryer Davidov, affirms a counter-tradition to the traditional male narrative
2000Deborah Willis publishes Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present, surveying a tradition whose significance is being rediscovered

Camera phone introduced in Japan by Sharp/J-Phone

2001David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, argues that painters have used optical instruments to achieve realistic illusions, even before photography was invented

Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photographs collects photographs from any contributors, relating to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center disaster; pictures are exhibited without distinction to professional or amateur status, and are offered for sale in storefront locations and on the Internet (proceeds to charity)

Polaroid goes bankrupt

2003Four-thirds standard for compact digital single lens reflex introduced with the Olympus E-1; Canon Digital Rebel introduced for less than $1000

The Photography of Charles Sheeler at Metropolitan Museum of Art; first major exhibition of his photographs

2004Kodak ceases production of film cameras

Inconvenient Evidence: Iraqi Prison Photographs from Abu Ghraib, International Center of Photography; shocking and controversial images made by U.S. troops who were prison guards in Iraqi prison, showing extreme abuse of detainees

War in Iraq: The Coordinates of Conflict, Photographs by VII, International Center of Photography; the photo agency VII is featured here

Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske, Getty Center, Los Angeles artist, active in 1960s, Teske worked in tradition of creative photography, making dream-like images through composite techniques

2005Canon EOS 5D, first consumer-priced full-frame digital single lens reflex, with a 24 × 36-mm complementary metal-oxide semiconductor sensor for $3000; German film manufacturer, AGFA, goes out of business

Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis, Getty Center, Shulman photographed the California Dream in the mid-twentieth century, in black-and white-studies of modern architecture and Los Angeles streetscapes

Forget me Not: Photography and Remembrance, International Center of Photography, explores the decorative embellishment of photographic prints, personalizing them as part of memory

2006On Photography: A Tribute to Susan Sontag, Metropolitan Museum of Art

2007The Goat’s Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide, Getty Center, Iturbide’s poetic documentary approach reveals the nuances of La frontera, the border area between Mexico and the United States

2008Polaroid discontinues instant film because of increasing popularity of digital cameras

Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, explores the fascination of artists and photographers with the collection or archive as a conceptual and aesthetic organization of visual information

2009Kodak Kodachrome film discontinued

Reality Check: Truth and Illusion in Contemporary Photography, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance, Getty Center, Outerbridge’s mastery of abstract black-and-white imagery and his early experiments (1930s) with color photography given visibility in this exhibition

2010Real 3D W3, a camera by Fujifilm, is first 3D consumer camera

Urban Panoramas: Opie, Liao, Kim, Getty Center, Los Angeles, New York, and Reykjavik are the subjects of these three photographers working in the panorama format

Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties, Getty Center, features classic work by Griffiths, Freed, Smith, Meiselas, Salgado, Nachtwey, demonstrating relevance and continuity of documentary

For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, International Center of Photography, Explores role of photography in shaping fight for racial justice—from 1940s to 1970s

2011Night Vision: Photography After Dark, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Narrative Interventions in Photography, Getty Center; Work by Weems, Eileen Cowin, Simryn Gill, images driven by conceptual and abstract motives, reflecting social critique, the examination of passion, and the analysis of systems

2012Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop & After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity, Getty Center, the camera’s role in creating and recording celebrity is featured in examples form the nineteenth century to the twentieth century France and the United States

2013In Focus: Ed Ruscha, Getty Center, the influential Los Angeles postmodernist artist/photographer featured in his classic urban topographies from the 1960s

Picture Windows: Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with Sanford Biggers, International Center of Photography, explores issues of identity and stereotypes through photographs based on performances of types—vaudeville, dancers, Kabuki theater, and so forth

2014Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography, Philadelphia Museum of Art, s retrospective of Strand, from beginning to end, demonstrating his enormous range and versatility

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis, International Center of Photography, a summation of Salgado’s global vision of unspoiled landscapes and peoples, using extravagant black-and-white photography

Garry Winogrand (2013–14) San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery, major retrospective of one of the greatest street photographers



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