Photography as an art form is a taking a moment in time and making it immortal. Civil war photos show how disastrous the war was and not as glorified as many still claim it is. It gives the viewer a glimpse into the life of the photographer. Especially back in the day, before cameras were easy to carry and take photos in an instant. When photography was still in it’s early stages, Photographers had no choice but to set up tripods and crank the camera for long periods of time to develop the image. A lot of planning had to go into these photos. Once handheld cameras were invented, it was a blessing for photographers at the time since they could walk out and photograph with minimum set-up.
That doesn’t mean that the selfies on instagram aren’t art. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just that it’s like wine. It’s supposedly okay when it’s fresh, sometimes good depending on the vineyard and the person, but everyone knows that it gets better with age. Take for example, Alfred Stieglitz’s “The Steerage”, “Going to the Start” and “Katherine Stieglitz” probably didn’t mean much for most people back then but now they are national treasures. Alfred Stieglitz took a day in those people’s lives and made it so that their descendants could see them.
What makes these photos significant is that they each freeze a part of Stieglitz’s life. They show who was on the boat with him, what he was doing that day and immortalized his daughter, Katherine.
Photography as a medium is constantly evolving. It’s turning mundane life into art, especially now with special effects like filters and programs like PhotoShop. As time goes on, photographers can let their creativity flow through the constraints of reality. Before Photoshop, photographers had to manipulate the subject they were photographing. Now they can photograph a chair and add a subject from a different image to it.