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Q: Assess the impact of photography on the 19th century political and social landscape. How did it affect paintings? Use one example from Gardner s Art through the Ages and one from the Internet.
A: Photographing the landscape is the most enduring activity in the history of the medium. More prints of picturesque ruins and leafy glades have been made, sold, and seen than those of any other genre. [ From photography's hesitant beginnings in 1835, when Henry Talbot placed his ?mousetrap? camera in the grounds of Lacock Abbey to record a group of trees against the skyline, landscape has
appealed to photographers everywhere. The attitude of the Victorians towards the landscape underwent a gradual change during the course of the century, most notably after 1851 when the census recorded for the first time that more people were living in cities and towns than in the countryside. This shift in the demographic balance altered perceptions of both environments. Cities were increasingly regarded as dangerous places to live, for both health and social reasons, while the countryside became identified with notions of freedom, cleanliness, spiritual redemption, and an intact social order. It was the leisured and financially independent members of society, who either lived in or had ready access to the rural landscape, who took to photography when it came to their attention. In the 1840s and well into the 1850s two processes dominated photography. The daguerreotype was the preferred choice of commercial portraiture, whilst the calotype appealed to amateurs working in the landscape, for whom sharpness and crisp definition were the antithesis of artistic expression. The distinction between the two methods also reflected the social class of the photographer, for daguerreotypists were regarded as being in trade and those who used the calotype belonged to polite society, where education, leisure, and shared ideals allowed amateur practice to flourish. Its members could afford the relatively high cost of cameras, lenses, and chemicals and had the time to use them. For this group, landscape in its purest and simplest form, devoid of buildings and man's apparent intervention, occupied the high spiritual ground where the play of light over natural forms evoked the presence of God. ]
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Asked 8/16/2012 6:10:04 PM
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