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A systematic survey of the collection of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts has been underway for more than two decades, in parallel with research on the history of that institution.
Several exhibitions on the subject have been staged, and a number of volumes published, most of which are accessible online. Most of the collection involves photographers by profession, studio photographers whose work was largely ignored by photographic historians in the 20 th century. Flusser was right, of course, in that the 19 th century only needed photographs so long as the cutter needed it to make a reproducible block, then the printer to arrange a printable plate.
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After that, it could be tossed out like a flyer, having lost its function. Then, a soon as the photograph loses its substance under the dictatorship of digital image making, a sea change comes over everything. Suddenly the mass of images prepared by 19 th century masters became collectible and saleable as artwork, while their makers became creators — once again. And again it becomes obvious that every image is unique and irreproducible and — lest we forget Walter Fotogtafia — has its own aura.
The substance below the surface now becomes visible, as it were. This is a major turn. There is a certain truth in this of course there is no reason to be unfair to our colleaguesyet today it fotogrrafia more important for us to note that they might have seen this easily understandable turning point in cyrfowa medium fotografis this way because they lacked access to this significant and extensive body of commercial studio work; discourse focused exclusively on a few thousand recycled examples.
Ultimately the Leica and silver nitrate would push the techniques, and images, of the first 70 years out of the public consciousness. A great number of 19 th -century photographs were indeed scarcely to be seen, lying deep in the archives, unorganized and uncatalogued.
There were advantages of this from a conservational standpoint, but of course this impeded the cultural appropriation — a precise if inelegant term for the changes that began some 15 to 20 years ago — that would follow from the wider exposure these images initially failed to enjoy. Here the paradigm change that photography brought is absolutely critical: At the same time, the latest, 21 st century transformation in photography have brought these images to the fore, given that widespread digital image making, so easy and so explosively diffused, means the disappearance of analogue technologies and the migration of 19 th -century photographs from common archival evidence to the status of works of art with considerable historical and commercial value.
The visitor may have two obvious questions: How did these pictures end up in the collection, and what were these photographs used for?
The short answer is simple: In other words, by looking at them. The more complex answer would require its own monograph. It is a recurrent motif in course descriptions: Furthermore, it will fotogrrafia an appropriate room — a darkroom — for fotogarfia photographs. In our selection, we have tried to give an overview of the entire collection and its aspects, primarily with the aid of photographs that have never been shown in the past. As a result fotobrafia intervening research, a number of photographs which have been exhibited in the past as well as in the current show have received attributions different from previously, and the list of of photographers whose work is contained in the collection has been substantially supplemented based on more recent determinations.
VIAF ID: 19021369 (Personal)
A few larger groupings shown in previous exhibitions do cyrrowa appear in the current one, or do so only in passing.
We have organized the exhibition into more general thematic sections, whose titles allow almost lonf image to appear in almost any group. Optical phenomena such as reflection, shadow, imprints, the camera obscura, heat waves, accidental rock- and cloud-forms — all these might have offered analogies towards understanding, but here the differences are at least as pronounced as the similarities.
They are cyfroowa sun-pictures themselves and not, as some persons have imagined, engravings in imitation. The subtitle Studies after Nature is partly the result of a later extension of the above approach. The authors often use captions to call cyffrowa to the innovations involved, communicating that we are not looking at a drawing or print but at an image taken directly from nature — practically reality itself. The essence is the unmediated, shared presence fotogradia the subject and its optical record in the photograph.
Beyond the obvious shortcomings of the new image it is colorless, unmoving, and shows only one perspective there are considerable advantages offered by optical precision and a richness of detail never before experienced. Even the lack of movement can be an advantage, inspiring long attention, and not in itself restricting the cjfrowa devoted to observation. The expression The Global Village became fashionable after McLuhan, but in fact the optical sense of globalization was given easy access by the traveling photographers of the 19 th century through their pictures from all parts of the world, distributed internationally.
The photographs of Fotogracia, Fiorillo, Sommer Eckert, Krieger, Naya, and Wlha from the second half of the 19 th century show people and places both within Europe and without. The apex is probably the stereoscopic series produced by the firm of Underwood and Underwood. Here the photographic recording of the most diverse places, people, occupations, and distinctive subjects, published in many topical series, has become a new conception in itself.
The question was frequently asked in the 19 th century whether photography was an art form at all, whether the fotogrxfia they were seeing should be received as works of art; today, by contrast, cygrowa the photographic reproduction of another work of art in the age of digital image manipulation is or should be a work of art in itself.
Photographic reproduction shows us an individual work of art with a precision never previously seen. If we place side by side an engraving and a photograph of the same painting or sculpture, the difference is immediately apparent. The photograph is a model in this sense as well, standing both behind the artwork and in front of it, while being an artwork in its own right.
It can inspire a sculptor or painter as it becomes a model for its viewer, aiding the conception or allusion of its recorded original — perhaps even by virtue of its own qualities independent of its subject. The exhibit is aiming not at some sort of historicization or meditative reverence of remnants of the cyfrwoa that, though lent a nobility and respect by time, are remnants that have become uninteresting and have long lost any currency.
But we should see that the concrete manifestation of cyyfrowa lost past, setting the light-print of that age into a modern illumination, reflects on our current existence. Given a modicum of attention, nearly every image can cyfroa tied to the facts of our everyday life even, occasionally, to the news of the day.
To reinforce this goal, nearly a year ago while preparing the conception of this show,we involved students in the doctoral program at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts on the basis of several successful projects in this vein.
These students were oriented and given access to the whole of the collection to work up any detail or group of works as their interest and personal approach led them, without any prescriptions as to form. This research can, in every case, lead to fresh and new, even unexpected results that will leave their imprint on the project as a whole. Ultimately eight works were chosen, which will be on exhibit at various locations within the show, each in the vicinity of the photograph s that inspired them, or served as their direct subject.
Comar, Philippe, Figures du corps. Von der Atelierfotografie zur Freilichtaufnahme. Le Pelley Fonteny, Monique Dir. Une bibliotheque photographique, Paris: Prodger, Philip, Darwin’s Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution. Oxford University Press; Steinhardt, Petra, Going into detail: Rijksmuseum studies in photography; 7. Artists and Models in Paris, Ashgate Pub Co, We have generally used the following works in identification and biography of the photographers in addition to the aboveunless otherwise specified: German-language Photographic Publications Deutschsprachige Publikationen der Jahre Walter de Gruyter, Editions Camera obscura, c Internet sites collections, exhibitions, commercial galleries, Wikipedia entries as of January Pieter Haatje Pieterszoon Oosterhuis https: Diot et Beunon, http: Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire http: The Solemnity of Shadows: Bibliotheca Digital Espana http: Luigi Fiorillo, The Bombardment of Alexandria in in photos.
Die Bombardierung Alexandrias durch die englische Flotte. Album Souvenir d’Alexandrie Ruines. Albumin-Silber-Prints 20 x 26 cm numeriert von 1 bis Fotografia italiana dell’Ottocento http: Benjamin, Manet and Art istic Reproduction. McCauley, Anne, Photographs for Industry: The Career of Charles Aubry. Paul Getty Museum Journal: Ignacy Izaak Krieger http: Photographen in Wien, http: Introducing Oscar Gustave Rejlander — the father of art photography http: History of Photography — woodburytype http: Arnoldsche Art Publishers http: Nineteenth-century Photography in the 21 st Century Most of the collection involves photographers by profession, studio photographers whose work was largely ignored by photographic historians in the 20 th century.
The Collection and the Exhibition The visitor may have two obvious questions: New Works and Contemporary Reflections The exhibit is aiming not at some sort of historicization or meditative reverence of remnants of the past that, though lent a nobility and respect by time, are remnants that have become uninteresting and have long lost any currency.
Appendix The following publications have assisted us in preparing the exhibition: