Since its invention in 1839, photography has made radical contributions to the evolution of visual representation. The medium brought with it the ability to capture motion, document a split-second of time, and, thanks to its inherent reproducibility, allowed for the wide circulation of images.
From the beginning, there has been no single method for taking photographs. “Photography appears to be an easy activity,” photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson observed. “In fact it is a varied and ambiguous process in which the only common denominator among its practitioners is their instrument.”1 Photographs are made for a variety of purposes and disciplines, including portraiture, science, travel, journalism, propaganda, and art. The medium continues to be reinvented and rethought, shaped by technological advances in equipment and processing and the ever-changing cultural and social dialogues surrounding its use.
1. Henri Cartier-Bresson, “The Mind’s Eye,” inThe Mind’s Eye: Writing on Photography and Photographers, ed. Michael L. Sand (New York: Aperture, 1976), 15
Source: Museum of Modern Art - Photography