The Leaf of a Plant from The pencil of Nature
William Henry Fox TALBOT 1844
The Pencil of Nature
Technique and Style
- Period： July 14 (Sat) - September 17 (Mon)
- Closed Day：Monday(if Monday is a national holiday or a substitute holiday, it is the next day)
- Admission：Adults ￥500／College Students ￥400／High School and Junior High School Students,Over 65 ￥250 ※65 years old are free (at the time of acceptance, certificate required) September 17
What is photography? For the past decade, that has been the fundamental theme that the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography has pondered while seeking to foster discovery and appreciation of photography. As one of the few museums in the world specializing in photography, it is not enough for us to collect, conserve, and exhibit photographs. Aware that our museum must also function as a center for the culture of photography in Japan, we have defined our mission as delving more deeply into that fundamental question: What is photography?
We have organized this exhibition into a three-part structure based on the techniques and media used in works in the museum's collection:
Part 1: Creating with Light: Manipulated Photographs
Part 2: The Pencil of Nature: Technique and Style
Part 3: The Eye of the Machine: Camera and Lens
The techniques used in Part 1 will, of course, be applied in combination with those in Part 2 and Part 3. Moreover, a stringent categorization of these photographs is not possible, or, in fact, necessary. Visitors to this exhibition will, we hope, realize that it is possible to combine a variety of techniques to create one work of photographic art.
left）RED & GREEN, MODENA Franco FONTANA 1977 Silver Dye-Bleach Print
right）Paysge d'Agen, avec Arbre et Cours d'Eau, Louis Ducos DU HAURON 1872 Heliochromy ※The world's first color photo
left）Nude, Edward WESTON 1936 Gelatin Silver Print
right）Shinjuku,from Tokyo MORIYAMA Daido 1969 Gelatin Silver Print
left）Tondekita Irogami no.3 (Color Papers Flown Here),ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro 1989 Silver Dye-Bleach Print
center）Fotogramm, László Moholy-Nagy c.1922 Gelatin Silver Print
rigth）from 'Electricité, Man Ray 1931 Photogtavure
■The main exhibition composition
1. Photographic Printing Paper
The calotype, an improvement on William Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawing, is the starting point in the history of techniques for printing photographs on paper. Its inventor, Fox Talbot, was a product of the British aristocracy, a multitalented scientist interested in many fields, including astronomy, mathematics, and optics. In 1833, while traveling in Italy on his honeymoon, he tried to use a camera lucida to sketch the scenery, during which the idea of a method for recording the camera's images (photogenic drawing, or what we now call photography) occurred to him. He began serious experimentation the next year and by 1835 had succeeded in creating negatives. In 1839, when he heard of the announcement that Daguerre of France had invented a photographic process, Fox Talbot immediately presented the results of his research to date to the Royal Society. Subsequent experimentation led to his perfecting the calotype in about 1840.
The outstanding feature of the calotype is that it is a negative-positive process, an invention that is the fundamental form of analog photography, for it makes possible producing multiple positive prints from a single negative. The original calotype did not produce crisp images and was prone to fading. Fox Talbot held, moreover, several patents on the method, creating additional barriers to its adoption. Thus, its commercial success was unlikely. Controlling the gradations of light and shadow in the print and choice of paper, however, provided scope for reflecting the intentions and emotions of the photographer in the image, and the lack of clarity of the outlines could give rise to soft effects. Thus, some artists were attracted by Fox Talbot's process.
The idea of the negative-positive process then developed rather independently in two directions: methods for developing the negative, to produce a negative image, and printing techniques for creating the positive. Those printing techniques, developing handed in hand with the advances of the Industrial Revolution, did go on to achieve commercial success. The production of photographic printing paper shifted to factories, and those papers were repeatedly improved as the companies producing them sought to upgrade their industrial products. The result was the production in large quantities of stable printing papers and the development of many new materials and techniques, including salted paper, albumen paper, platinum printing paper, gelatin silver prints, pigment printing, and printing color photographs.
2. Prints on Metal and Glass
The daguerreotype was the first photographic process invented. Unlike the calotype, however, the daguerreotype did not support making multiple positive images from a single negative. For some years after its invention, the daguerreotype overwhelmingly outstripped the calotype in popularity, partly because it rendered images in superb detail and partly because the French government actively promoted the process. The response was so strong that it became known as "daguerreotype mania."
The use of the daguerreotype developed most notably in the field of commercial portrait photography, with the appearance of commercial photography studios for that purpose. Matthew Brady, for example, opened a portrait studio in New York to great commercial success, creating system for large-scale production in which he applied a division of labor to the daguerreotype processes.
Daguerreotypes were difficult to create out of doors, where the facilities for developing them would not be available, and thus they were used far less for landscape than for portrait photography.
The daguerreotype was an extremely demanding, and expensive, process. Thus, when the ambrotype and tintype emerged as alternatives to it, they swiftly gained popularity. If the daguerreotype was the medium of choice for the affluent segment of society, ambrotypes and tintypes were popular among the masses. While inferior to the daguerreotype in image quality, the tintype had the advantage that, unlike the ambrotype, it did not use a glass base. Since tintypes were both strong and light in weight, it was possible, for example, to mail a tintype to a loved one.
3. Development of Color Photographic Processes
As black-and-white photograph evolved, the pursuit of color began. From the dawn of photography, efforts were made to reproduce color by hand tinting daguerreotypes and by using carbon prints, gum-bichromate prints, and other pigment printing processes. In the 1840s, John Herschel and other researchers conducted repeated experiments on fixing the colors of the visible spectrum of light by means of the photosensitivity of silver halide, but achieved little success. The researchers thought of all the colors of the natural world as consisting of combinations of three primary colors: red, blue, and green. The spectrum of colors could be reproduced by changing the proportions of the primary colors or reducing them through the use of colored filters.
In 1861, the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell created a color photograph by projecting three lantern slide positive images of a tartan ribbon, an additive process. At about the same time, in France, Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron was conducting similar experiments and announced Heliochromy, a subtractive process for printing color photographs. Their approaches failed, however, to have sufficient photosensitivity throughout the visible spectrum and did not result in truly practical color photography. (Film sensitive to all wavelengths in the visible spectrum did not appear until the early twentieth century, when Kodak invented its Panchromatic film.)
The commercialization of color film began in 1904 when the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, invented the Autochrome process. Autochrome plates produced color transparencies or slides on glass. They were costly, required long exposure times, and produced images that had to be seen through a viewer, but they proved unexpectedly popular. The Autochrome had, however, considerable room for improvement in technique and in the naturalness of the resulting color.
Color photography in a true sense was not realized until 1935, when Eastman Kodak introduced Kodachrome, a three-layer positive film. Since then color photographs have acquired an overwhelming market share among the mass of amateur photographers. With subsequent development of the dye transfer, diffusion transfer, chromogenic, and silver dye bleach processes, color photography has achieved an unshakeable position in our lives.
- floor Lecture
August 10 (Fri) 16:00～
August 24 (Fri) 16:00～
September 14 (Fri) 16:00～