Category Archives: Uncategorized

Digital vs. Traditional Photography

Perhaps the best example of how advancing technology played a role in photography is the transition of developing photos in the dark room to digital photography. Depending on the type of camera used in traditional photography, people would have to load film onto a spool and develop it, then make larger prints on photo paper. Or if it was a camera like a pinhole, they would simply place the photo paper in the developer to watch image appear.

 However, the development of digital photography has made the entire process a lot easier and the development time a lot shorter. All of the photographs are stored on a memory card which can be loaded onto your computer or at a store photo printer. “Digital cameras can do some things that traditional cameras cannot, such as sharing photos over the Internet, viewing them on your TV, and the image quality of digital photography is improving almost as rapidly as fast as prices are dropping.” 1

Digital cameras have shutters and lenses like a traditional camera but rather than record images on light-sensitive film, they record their images into a light-sensitive semiconductor known as a charge-coupled device, or CCD. [1] Light passes through red, blue, and green filters to produce color images. Another technological advancement is that unlike film, memory is reusable and therefore several photos can be captured on the card and nothing has to be replaced before taking the next photo. Photos can be easily duplicated and manipulated electronically as well.

Digital photography does not replace the actual process and interest in watching your photograph develop right in front of you.  But this technological advancement has generated a greater interest in photography and some people actually work with traditional photography as well.  

Many people believe that one of the downfalls of digital photography is their archival quality – they fade rather quickly.[2] Technological advancements are continually being made but they still can’t stand against the long lasting image of a traditional print. The argument for this point is that since digital images are so easily accessible, they can be reprinted at any time off your computer.


[1] O’Malley, Chris. “The Digital Option: Cameras for the Communication Age.” Popular Science, 1996: 90-91.

[2] Suess, Bernhard J. Digital vs. Traditional Photography. http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/Arts/photography/equiptechniq/digitalphoto/digitaltradit/digitaltradit.htm (accessed April 23, 2010).

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Vietnam War & Photography

                The Vietnam War was fought between 1964 and 1975 in South Vietnam, bordering areas of Cambodia and Laos, and bombing passed through North Vietnam as well. One coalition consisted of the United States, the Republic of Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The opposite forces consisted of North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front, a communist-led South Vietnamese guerilla movement.[1]

                In several ways, the Vietnam War was seen as a direct successor of the French Indochina War, in which French fought to keep control of their colony in Indochina against an independence movement led by Communist party member Ho Chi Minh.

On January 15, 1973 President Nixon ordered a suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam which was later followed by the unilateral withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords were later signed on January 27, 1973 which officially ended US involvement in the Vietnam conflict.

The War had a large impact on society and the photographs taken were an important part of it. Photography is always used as an effort to teach people about what is going on in the world, especially in the case of war. These photographs allowed people to see firsthand what was happening overseas.  “They moved us, made us feel sickened by what we saw and endangered many of us in a sense of outrage.” [2]

Memorable photos always have an impact because it touches an emotion inside a person. With photos involving war, sometimes it’s the most compelling or horrifying images that stay with us forever and leave an imprint in our mind. War photography in general expresses these ideas because it presents a view that the rest of society, outside the war, never sees.

Source: National Press Photographers Assocation

Phillip  Jones Griffiths, a photojournalist known for his photographs of the Vietnam War, covered the before and after effects and his work was considered “unprecedented.”

Source: Magnum Photos

 US Marines inside the Citadel rescue the body of a dead Marine during the Tet Offensive. 1968

Source: Magnum Photos


[1] Vietnam War. http://www.vietnam-war.info/summary/ (accessed April 22, 2010).

[2] Rodd, Emily. “The impact of photography on our lives – how photos influence ideas and opinions.” PSA Journal, 1993.

Duane Michals

Duane Michals was born February 18, 1932 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1953, he completed a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Denver. He went on to study at the Parsons School of Graphic Design with the plan of becoming a graphic designer in 1956. While on vacation in the USSR in 1958, he discovered photography and photos taken during his trip were featured in the 1963 exhibition at the Underground Gallery in New York City.[1]

Michals worked in commercial photography for Esquire and Mademoiselle for several years. In addition, he covered the filming of The Great Gatsby for Vogue in 1974. He did not have his own studio so he took photos of people in their environment, which differed from other photographs at the time. He began to stage and photograph little sequences of action-made up stories, fictions that unfolded in a few frames of film.[2]

 In 1968, he was hired by the government of Mexico to photograph the Olympic Games that year. These works were shown in 1970 at The Museum of Modern Art. Many of the photos he took between 1958 and 1988 would later become the basis of his book, Album.

He has also worked with a few musicians and produced the cover art for The Police album, “Synchronicity” in 1983 and Richard Barone’s “Clouds over Eden” in 1983.

Contribution to Photography: Michals had a significant effect on photography in the 1960’s. His photos manipulate the medium to communicate narratives using a distinctive pictorial technique. [1] The sequences, for which he is widely known, resembles cinema’s frame by frame format. Each sequence depicts the unfolding of an event or reveals various perspectives of the subject. He sometimes added text to his images.


[1] PaceMacGill Gallery. http://www.pacemacgill.com/duanemichalsbio.html (accessed April 12, 2010).

[2] Garner, Gretchen. Disappearing Witness: Change in 20th Century American Photography. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Cover of “Synchonicity,” The Police Album Cover. (1983)

Source: Picsearch.com

Grandpa Goes to Heaven (1989)

Source: digimere.umwblogs.org

Harry Callahan

 Harry Callahan was born October 22, 1912 in Detroit, Michigan. He was a self-taught photographer and began taking photos in his hometown, opting for an inexpensive point and shoot camera over an expensive 16mm movie camera. He joined a camera club in 1941 where he met many celebrated photographers including Ansel Adams, who gave work a workshop for the class. He studied engineering at Michigan State University and worked as a photographic technician for General Motors in 1944. He was hired by László Moholy-Nagy in 1946 to teach photography at the Institute of Design (ID) in Chicago. In 1948 Callahan met Edward Steichen, who responded strongly to his work and included it in numerous shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Callahan left Chicago in 1961 to head the photography department at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence with his friend and former ID colleague Aaron Siskind. He stepped down from the chairmanship in 1973, but continued teaching at the school until his retirement in 1977.[1]

Callahan’s legacy as a photographer and educator earned him many honors and awards. His work was the subject of a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 1976 and at the National Gallery of Art at Washington, D.C., in 1996. In 1977 he was selected to represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale, a major contemporary art exhibition, and was the first photographer to be honored.[2]

Contribution to Photography: Callahan is considered to be one of the most influential photographers in the 20th century. He often transformed his everyday subjects including: nature, architecture, city streets, and his wife and daughter into simple forms. His goal in photography was to simply describe, rather than conceal or distort. He was also one of the few photographers that worked well in both black & white and color.[1] Callahan was self-motivated, extremely curious about technique, and continually willing to try new approaches. He worked with extreme contrast, collage, multiple time exposures, camera motion, and unique lighting.


[1] Pultz, John. “Harry Callahan.” Art Journal, 1997: 103-104.

[2] Bookrags. http://www.bookrags.com/biography/harry-callahan/ (accessed April 12, 2010).

“Eleanor, Chicago” 1952. Gelatin Silver Print.

Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography

This is one of his most admired photographs of his wife.

“Typewriter Shop” 1970. Dye Transfer Print.

Soure: Museum of Contemporary Photography

“Chicago” 1950. Gelatin Silver Print.

Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography