Photographyand Visual Art
Sometimespeople wonder if photography as a visual art has any role to play inlife. Photography is a critical art, it facilitates communication, itpreserves history also through taking photographs people can be ableto become artists. Besides, photography can move people the way wordscannot do. In the 19th century, so many artists came up with the workof photography. Some of these artists include Robert Adams, AugustSander, Susan Meiselas, Carleton Watkins, Helen Levitt, and LisetteModel among others. All these artists in their works communicated amessage that had historical significance.
RobertAdams was a photographer who was born in 1937. He used to do his workduring summer nights. Adams in his works tried to investigate urbanencroachment in western America. In most of his art, Adams balanceshope for nature persistence against despair for man’s demolition. In his series of photographs, Adam moved from urban centers to ruralareas.
Inone his books ‘why people photograph’, Adam argues that peoplesnap because they have the passion for exploring the world (Rod). Inthis work of art, there are a series of photographs taken by Adams.One of the photographs shows a satellite another picture portrays atarmacked road which represents urban life. Similarly, there is aphotograph showing a forest and beside a rough road which representsa rural area. All these pictures are taken during night hours.
RobertAdams’s work is majorly concerned with the beauty of the world. Hetries to focus how the world looked before, and the challenges itfaced. Adams’s works of visual art played a crucial role in thehistory of America. Through the photographs, the clear picture oflight and stillness in West America is depicted. Furthermore, Adamargues that the photographs were a representation of America beforeand after freedom, the miseries people underwent.
AugustSander is another person to remember when talking about photography.Sander got his first camera from his uncle before starting the workof photography. He taught himself on how to use the camera and thenstarted to take photographs. Sanders’s work of photographycommenced officially after serving German military. Sander was forcedto stop his work of photography after Hitler rose to power. Sander’sson was a member of the communist party which made some officials tobecome suspicious of Sander’s work.
Inone of his works, the face of our time, Sander used a scientificapproach in delineating some groups of people. These groups includethe Weimar society (Wolfgang). In his photographs, Sander organizedhis subjects according to social classes and profession. ‘People ofthe Twentieth Century’ is another work of art that fascinates mostof the viewers. The work of photography created by Sander comprisesof images representing different categories (Stephen).
InSander`s work, there is a photograph of a farmer, who is referred tothe earthbound man, a parliamentarian by the name Johannes Scheererwho represents the classes and professions. Besides, there is apicture of Architect’s wife who represents ‘the woman,`sculptress representing ‘the artist.` Likewise there is a pictureof a youth who symbolizes ‘the city’ and finally, there is aphotograph of two blind children who represent ‘the last people’as per Sander.
Sander’swork has a historical significance. Through the work of photography,it is evident that there were social classes in the past. Besides,these social classes were organized into a hierarchy of occupations.Additionally, the works try to show the role that was played by womenin those days. Sander wanted to bring out the role that was played byindividuals in the society.
HelenLevitt is also remembered for his work in street photography. She wasthe first woman to come up with colored photographs in the street ofNew York in the 1940’s. Helen never worked with the intention ofgetting a story but rather for pleasure. She realized that streetlife was very enjoyable and the people who were living there wereinteresting[ CITATION Mil16 l 1033 ].
Thepictures that were taken by Helen report the usual happenings. In oneof her works, ‘Twists and Turns’ a picture of a child swaying arope is seen. Likewise, there is a picture of a child leaning on astaircase while squatting the next image shows two children wearingmasks and standing. Furthermore, there is a photograph of streetchildren who are playing some half naked.
Theimages are fascinating. The majority of the work shows a picture ofchildren who are playing different games. These pictures by Helendepict how children interacted with their elders as well as livingtogether. The remarkable thing about these pictures is that they actas memories of what is happening at present. They are used topreserve the history of what used to happen during those days. Forexample, the pictures taken by Helen can be used to remind thechildren how to pretend with style (Miller).
LisetteModel was another renowned photographer born in Austria. She was bornin 1906 in a wealthy family. Lisette Model was well educated shetraveled widely and received formal training from private tutors. Herfather sexually molested her during her early ages. Composer ArnoldSchoenberg taught Model music when her father was nearing to die.
Lateron Model decided to transfer from music to voice studies. She, lateron, realized that these studies were affecting her voice senses. By1930, Model decided to start photography after she was married to aRussian artist. In one of her works, Model took a photograph of a manand a woman in a bar. The two are conversing while having a drink.Model used this image to represent the rich idlers. The picture wasused to represent the modern life and its impact on the humancharacter. The photograph captures the viewers’ attention becausethey are real.
Model’swork of photography was of historical significance. Model`s work ledto change in artist life of America. Model’s stark for realism andsearch for truth was one of the profound changes through photography.
Inphotography, we cannot forget the tremendous job done by SusanMeiselas. She started photography in 1971 when she was a student atCambridge. She used to take the pictures of the people they residedtogether in her boarding house while in school. Since then sheexpanded her role from being a photojournalist to being a filmmaker,historian, and archivist.
Inone of her works ‘the carnival strippers,` Susan photographed apicture of a naked woman (Tom). The woman in the picture is holding acigarette. The image represents women aged between 17 and 35 years.It can be seen clearly that the woman in the photograph is a clubstripper. Susan wanted to show the real picture of the inner sociallives of girls in the society. The historical significance is that,through the photograph, the viewers can understand the role of womenand their position in the society. The women were treated as sexobjects[ CITATION Tom15 l 1033 ].
Fromthe above discussion, it has been realized that photography andvisual art play a very significant role in life. The photographs thatwere taken by the artists communicate a lot about important peopleand events. Photography ensures that memory is retained and allowslater generations to experience history.
Miller, L. Helen Levitt: Twists and Turns. n.d. 27 February 2016 <http://www.laurencemillergallery.com/exhibitions/helen-levitt-twists-and-turns>.
Rod, P. "Why people Photograph by Robert Adams." Finding Beauty 10 December 2007.
Stephen, B. August Sander: People of the Twentient Century. 6 May 2008. 14 September 2008 <http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/sander/index.html>.
Tom, S. "Susan Meiselas: Carnival Strippers." British Journal of Photography (2015).
Wolfgang, B. Face-Off in Weimar Culture: The Physiognomic Paradigm, Competing Portrait Anthologies, and August Sander’s Face of Our Time. n.d. 31 October 2016 <http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/19/face-off-in-weimar-culture-the-physiognomic-paradigm-competing-portrait-anthologies-and-august-sanders-face-of-our-time>.