Engin Özendes (ESFIAP)
Translated by Özgürcan YAZKURT
It was a nice summer day in 1839.
The breeze coming from the Seine was easing the August heat over
Paris. François Aragon, the man at the platform in the French
Science Academy, rang the small bell, tidied up his jacket by
a shoulder move, and 'Gentlemen', he said raising his head. 'By
means of light, nature has been slipped on a surface. It is called
Daguerreotype as it was invented by Louis Jacques Dauguerre.'.
Interjections rose among the crowd reflecting their surprise of
how it could be possible to slip the nature, which they had been
only used to seeing on paintings and engravings up until then,
on a surface by using a device. They immediately left their seats
to see the samples, and certainly it was real; what saw was proving
Ernest De Caranza
19.5 * 26 cm. 1852
20.5 * 27.2 cm. Yaklaşık 1870
The passion for this invention, which hadn't been renamed as photograph
yet, was getting bigger and bigger everyday. Writers, painters,
archaeologists, architects and adventurers who travelled to illustrate
the mysteries of the East were in the vanguard of the spread of
this invention. Following the route of the steamers between France
and Middle East the pictures of Egypt, Beirut, Syria and around,
and finally İzmir were obtained by Frederich Goupil Fesquet. Some
other itinerants reached even farther countries such as India,
Japan, China, the USA and Brasil.
What they did was quite a hard work
and their devices were very heavy. Daguerreotypes taken by these
itinerants were mostly the panoramic views of nature. Each daguerreotype
was unique, as it was impossible to copy them. Additionally, as
printing and publishing techniques weren't developed it was impossible
to illustrate these in books or publications. These daguerreotypes
were redrawn by adding mid-shades. As it was difficult to obtain
images that contain living and movable objects because of long
exposure time, painters included some man and animal figures to
their drawings in order to prevent boredom.
In 1847, there was a new technical development. Perfect pictures
were obtained on glass negatives sensitised by albumin. Practicality
of lighter dark-boxes increased the number of people who are interested
in photographing the far countries. It was still taking about
15 to 20 minutes to obtain a scenic image, but at least, it was
possible to copy these images thenceforth.
|İzmir Kervan Köprüsünde
Jacob August Lorent
42.7 * 53.7 cm. Yaklaşık 1859
27 * 20.6 cm. Yaklaşık 1870
With the Pera photograph taken by
an Irish, John Shaw Smith, in 1852, for the first time İstanbul
appeared in an experimental image. This photo was consisting of
two negatives and is known to be the oldest combination.
Photograph brought out a new question together with its invention:
'Does camera reflect its own reality or the reality of the man
behind the camera?'. Is photography an art if camera reflects
the pure reality and limits the eye behind the optical mechanism?
This question causes an important dispute among the artists and
art critics. If a scenic image caught by a photograph presents
us the reality as it is and as if it makes a copy of nature, how
could it be recognised as a work of art? The answer to this question
was short and simple: 'If there is a mind dominating the eye behind
that optical mechanism and selecting that frame among a wide variety
of views, and if this mind presents us the message, it aims to
give, by stressing it in a unique composition, this should be
Photographs have caught images
that cannot be seen with the naked eye, and provided the disclosure
of unknown sides of realities. Muybridge managed to record the
glimpse of the movements of a running horse by using a set of
cameras. That photograph proved that up until then all the painters
had painted horses wrong. In all previous paintings, due to optical
illusion, all four legs of running horses had been depicted stretched
in the air.
The works of American scinery photographers were almost the forerunners
of tourism and environmental awareness. Photographs of William
Henry Jackson provided the Yellowstone to be the first National
Park in America in March 1872. The first coloured photographs
(monochromes) spread at the beginning of the 20th Century brought
interesting pastel shades to the scenic images of the itinerants.
Later, photographers also tried to draw some attention to the
industrial disasters which caused negative effects on environment.
While an old car left in the foreground of fields of poppies reaching
mountains questioned the contrast between an ugly metal mass and
untouched nature, it was also an important stimulant in injecting
environmental awareness into people.
Sometimes, by getting away from
reality, new trends in photography in the 20th Century lead to
symbolist approaches such as searching for erotic images on the
trunks of trees created by the reflection of light.
Sedate, serene and sharp-edged scenic views were largely photographed
by itinerant naturalists. At the same time, this provided photographers
to test themselves in the open air. Scenic photography is not
only the act of putting the scenery into a frame, but also an
indicator of love of nature.
In the next issue, I will be writing
the interesting life story of a photographer. I wish you good
days with more photography. Bye for now...