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Slow Little Photo
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Seriously imaginative photography by Nastia Rodionova. Based in Westchester, New York.
Seriously imaginative photography by Nastia Rodionova. Based in Westchester, New York.

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Slow Little Photo turns two!
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Happy Lughnasadh!
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The second month of Hello, Photography starts now. We've skipped ahead to the 1900's. This is one of my absolute favorite images, "Carriers Crossing a River." It was taken near the coast of what is now Ghana, circa 1901. I cannot stress enough how far the medium of photography traveled in the early decades of its existence. Nowadays we tend to think of institutions like National Geographic covering uncommon terrain, but photographers ventured to all the edges of the planet early on, too.

One of the neatest resources on the internet is The Commons on Flickr, which is a repository of public domain images with no known copyright restrictions (or limited restrictions). You can use it to travel through time or to create digital artwork, or both. You can find more information on this image over there at The Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalarchives/4029309036/lightbox/

[Hello, Photography 2.01]
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Happy Valentine's Day from Slow Little Photo!

What makes your heart full? How do you show your love for others?

Artwork at +Film Streams,  a nonprofit cinema in Omaha, Nebraska. Taken February 13, 2014. 
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To wrap up the first month of our Hello, Photography series, we'll take you to Omaha, Nebraska, where Slow Little Photo is currently visiting. We will revisit the photographers of the nineteenth century at a later date, but for now we will take a moment to ponder how far around the world the innovation of photography traveled in the short months and years after its inception.

Outside the main branch of the Omaha Public Library in downtown Omaha, a placard from the Nebraska State Historical Society shares the following details:

"From 1867 to 1869 the first photography studio of William Henry Jackson, renowned photographer, artist, and explorer of the Old West, stood on the northwest corner of this block. His autobiography, Time Exposure, reports that in 1869 Omaha had the vitality of 'a boom town.' 

Jackson first crossed Nebraska in 1866 on the Oregon Trail, working as a bullwhacker with a freighting outfit. His sketches of the trip vividly depicted the trail experience. In 1870 he joined the Hayden Geological Survey, which took him and artist Thomas Moran to Wyoming's Yellowstone region. By revealing Yellowstone's wonders, Jackson's photographs and Moran's paintings contributed to the establishment of our first national park.

Jackson's camera also focused on the infant towns along the Union Pacific Railroad, Nebraska's Pawnee Indians, the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, and the Mountain of the Holy Cross in Colorado, which inspired a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1898 Jackson captured scenes of Omaha's Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Although his life spanned nearly a century, Jackson's photographs and sketches of the glorious landscapes of the nineteenth-century West are his enduring legacy."

Here we share with you an image William Henry Jackson captured of the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska in 1871. 

William Henry Jackson's image, archived as "Omaha Indian Reservation," comes from the William Henry Jackson Collection, courtesy of the Scotts Bluff National Monument and Oregon Trail Museum Foundation, with support from The Colorado Digitization Project, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and The Western Trails Project.

[Hello, Photography 1.05]
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Best image from January: Crystalla Gonzalez of +L Train belting their songs and filling Loft227 many times over during the Willy Wonka party put on by Emerging Artists Connect last weekend in Manhattan. ‪#‎eacevents‬ 
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Have you ever heard the name Hippolyte Bayard? Well, the image below speaks pretty clearly as to what Monsieur Bayard thought of this predicament. 

Entitled "Self Portrait as a Drowned Man," the artist's statement accompanying the photograph declares: 

"The corpse which you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process that has just been shown to you. As far as I know this indefatigable experimenter has been occupied for about three years with his discovery. The Government which has been only too generous to Monsieur Daguerre, has said it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard, and the poor wretch has drowned himself. Oh the vagaries of human life....!"

Oh, no, don't worry. This wasn't a gory record of a photographer's suicide. It was a message to the world, possibly the original high art self-portrait, created in 1840. The Getty Museum describes it as "perhaps the first example of political-protest photography." The reason for the melodramatics? M. Bayard felt wronged by all the same parties involved in M. Daguerre's success. While he had independently derived his own photographic process called direct positive printing, the same François Arago who had proved instrumental in Daguerre's success convinced Bayard to put off presenting his findings. When Bayard found himself without the life-long pensions granted to his fellow countrymen, Louis Daguerre and Isidore Niépce, he created this image to shake a fist at the injustice.

Poor Hippolyte. The saddest part of the tale, perhaps, leads right back to the date of June 24, 1839, when this forgotten father of photography held the world's first photography exhibition. (He displayed a grand total of thirty photographs!) This date precedes the detailed presentation of photographic techniques to the French public. The most the Academy of Sciences did for Hippolyte Bayard was pay him money to purchase some new equipment. For what? His presentation to the Academy on February 24, 1840, months after the world-famous presentation. Repeat after us: "Poor Hippolyte."

[Hello, Photography 1.4]
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You remember that set painter we mentioned last time? The person in question, proprietor of the Diorama theatre (along with Charles Marie Bouton)... well, it turns out that was Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. 

Daguerre continued on tinkering after Niépce's untimely death, with Niépce's son continuing on in the contract without offering much to the deal. After the unveiling of the daguerreotype on January 7th, 1839, François Arago of the French Academy of Sciences urged that the discoveries be made available to the French public. The French government acquired the rights to the new technology in exchange for providing life-long pensions to Daguerre and Niépce's son, Isidore. The date of August 19th, 1839, proved pivotal for the rapid spread of photography. On that date, the French government and the French Academy of Sciences together with the French Academy of Fine Arts presented the details of the daguerreotype process and earlier techniques as a gift "free to the world." Once the details reached the public, a frenzy took over, a frenzy to emulate and experiment with the process that finally, after thousands of years of experimentation, inscribed images of real life permanently on durable and easily transportable surfaces. Shortly after the release of the technique to the general public, Daguerre first published a book entailing all the details of the process that had been covered at the initial presentation by the Academies. Then, along with his brother-in-law, Alphonse Giroux, Daguerre manufactured and shipped official cameras and supplies out to the gathering multitude of eager daguerreotype enthusiasts. And thus, Daguerre became the most well-remembered name in photography from the nineteenth century. 

Here we present the first known photograph (or at least candid photograph) to involve people. To make this image, "Boulevard du Temple," Daguerre needed a ten-minute exposure. After that length of time, the traces of traffic on the street below left no impression on the plate. However, one Parisian stopped to have his shoes polished, and the two figures in the lower left of the frame therefore stayed put long enough to become immortalized in the famous image. 

[Hello, Photography 1.3]
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Niépce traveled to Paris to meet with like-minded and equally enthusiastic experimenters and inventors, most notably a not-yet-famous scenic artist and theatre proprietor. Niépce passed away in 1833, in the middle of a ten-year contract with the painter. Meanwhile in England, William Henry Fox Talbot independently created the first known photographic negative in 1835. Produced with what his wife lovingly called his "mousetrap cameras," this negative measures somewhere around an inch square. He described his early experiments in his text, Some Account of the Art of Photogenic Drawing, as "very perfect, but extremely small, pictures; such...as might be supposed to be the work of some Lilliputian artist." Later on, in 1840, he reworked his development process and named it the talbotype after himself, though the alternative name, calotype, from the Greek for "beautiful impression," seems to have stuck. 

Here for your close examination we display "Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey," the positive from Talbot's first negative.

[Hello, Photography 1.2]
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Have you seen it yet? The first photograph ever taken, or at least the first photograph to survive the test of time: "View from the Window at Le Gras" by the inventor of heliography, Nicéphore Niépce. When did he capture this? Back in 1826. 

More information about this image available from the University of Texas at Austin: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/firstphotograph/#top/

Inaugural post of our new series, Hello, Photography, in which we attempt to connect the digital photography community with the photography world that existed before Flickr, Google+, or 500px ever arrived on the scene.
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