Eileen Rafferty compresses a six-week course on the history of photographic art into a two-hour discussion in this video, and does a great job summarizing the visual styles of the various movements and demonstrating work from the photographers who are considered part of these movements.
From Pictorialism and the Photo Secession Movement all the way to New Social Landscape and Postmodernism, she discusses the recurring dilemma that surrounds the idea of photography as an art, and the actions and reactions fueling these philosphies. Throughout the talk, she specifies the visual characteristics of each movement, shows how they have reappeared throughout the medium’s history, and encourages us to incorporate these visual styles into our own work.
Interestingly, she demonstrates how the work of various Nineteenth-Century photographers who worked with certain techniques seem decidedly contemporary. And, as Ms. Rafferty offers numerous insightful quotes throughout her talk, I’ll mention a few that stood out.
Henri Cartier-Bresson: “To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life.”
Or Harry Callahan: “The mystery isn’t in the technique, it’s in each of us.”
And finally, when asked by a reporter if the images in his Equivalents photo series were indeed clouds, Alfred Stieglitz responded, “I don’t see why that matters!”