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What is Photography?

The term Photography is defined the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy
and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor).

Basically Photography is the act of capturing light.

Why Photography? (Communication through images)

Photography has taken hundreds of years to develop and is still changing everyday. There are many
different applications of photography. Lets look at some ways photography is utilized today. (click images
below to see larger image)

There is a vast amount of diversity in the world. There are different cultures, animals, people and ways of
life. Photography can connect us socially with people and things we may never otherwise see or

Document / Historical
Photos that record history. Also known as photojournalism.

Most photographs that are taken can be classified as documentation of something, or an image taken for
a record. (Record shots are also the staple of photojournalism.)

Journalistic photos can go far beyond being "record shots." Through the decades, individual photographs
have become icons, summing up emotions or events of a particular period.

Documentary photography has played an important role in American history. Photographs by Lewis Hine
documented the exploitation of children as laborers in early factories. As a result of his photos, lawmakers
passed legislation restricting the use of child labor.

Images that educate and enlighten

Photography can be used in many ways to educate people about the world in which we live (as well as
the universe outside the world in which we live). In the scientific realm, photography is a useful tool for
investigating many different subjects.

In the 1870s, Eadweard Muybridge conducted pioneering photographic studies of animal motion.

In the 1860s Oliver Wendell Holmes examined the positions of pedestrians whose motions were frozen in
photographs. He designed better artificial legs for soldiers who had suffered amputations during the Civil

Scientific and technical uses of photography form an almost endless list ranging from aerial mapping
photos to time-lapse pictures to crime scene evidence photographs to diagnostic X-rays.

Photos also have the ability to educate about nature, organisms and surrounding ecosystems most
people don't see on a daily basis.

Advertising & Marketing
Images used to sell.

Everyday we are confronted with images designed to persuade us in some way. We see them in our
home on product packaging, online and in newspapers and magazines. We see them when we leave the
house on billboards, signs, in stores and on buses.

These images are created for purposes of advertising or marketing toward consumers. Many
advertisement agencies and magazine publishers use stock photographs. A flat fee or royalty is charged
for each separate use of a stock photograph. The rapid growth of desktop publishing has given rise to a
different type of stock photograph distribution, royalty-free image collections. These collections are
usually on a CD and are sold outright for a cost less than a stock royalty for a single photograph.

Art & Entertainment
Aesthetic Photography that Illustrates & Inspires

The use of the photograph as a form of artistic expression and the continuing debate over whether
photography is art or a craft dates almost to its beginnings. Some early photographers attempt to mimic
popular taste in painting. The term pictorialism is used to describe an early approach to photography that
attempted to imitate painting.

Naturalistic photography did not attempt to imitate paintings, but would show natural subjects in their
actual surroundings.
Other major areas of photographic illustration include newspapers, magazines, and books.

Large-format books with numerous photographic illustrations (coffee table books) are an important
entertainment medium.


As a group of 3 or 4, you will choose one of the methods in which Photography as a Medium is applied
today (see above). Using the internet, gather images that illustrate your groups chosen application. You
must have a minimum of 8 images. Save them in a folder to show to the class.

Next class, you will present these photos to the class (as a group) where you will discuss your chosen


Teamwork (ALL students in group worked well together & contributed to final product) 20%
Images illustrate chosen photography application 20%
Guidelines adhered to (8 or more images, etc). 20%
Presentation (all members have a part in presentation, clearly presented and understand the chosen application) 20%
Submission (completed on time) 20%
TOTAL 100%