A brief history of art photography


There is no denying the fact that photography is a valid art form today. With the recent influx of affordable digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras on the market, the next big artist in the photography world may just be a click away from being discovered!

PhotographingThe birth of photography

The history of photography dates back to 1839. In that year there were two major developments in the field of photography. In France the inventor Louis Daguerre unveiled a process that created a laterally reversed image on metal plates and was termed the daguerreotype after its creator. In the UK a pioneer of photography named William Talbot introduced a procedure called ‘photogenic drawing’ which later evolved into the process used until today involving the creation of negatives. The latter invention was less popular at first but later became commonplace and led to all substantive developments in photography.

The first steps

One of the first notable photographers in art history would have to be Alfred Stieglitz. He was responsible for introducing photography as an art form to the world and having fine art photographs added to museum collections for the first time. His photo titled ‘the steerage’ dated 1907 is considered by many art historians to be the first example of artistic modernism in the realm of photography.

Another interesting facet of art photography is the blurred lines between different genres. Photojournalist images often become seen as art after the event occurs.

Art photography – the popularity explosion

Although there are examples of art photography dating back to the early 1900′s, the real popularity of the medium grew in the late 1950′s when photographic equipment and the kodacolor process became affordable to a whole new generation.

The future of art photography

Digital photography has quickly become accepted as a viable alternative to traditional photographic processes. The benefits are enticing to even the most loyal traditionalist.

Apart from the cost savings, the digital photographer also enjoys the benefit of having less equipment to carry around and the ability to edit the image down to the smallest element.


After the challenges in the early 1900′s to have photography accepted as an art form, we can look to the future sure of the fact that art photography will continue to be an important part of the art world.