Between the Bridges

Between the Bridges – by Rocky Berlier ©2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The History Of Photography

I revel in the joy of being a student of history. I think I learn more about a subject by digging into the back story of a subject than a thousand classes or instructors could ever teach.

I find it so enormously useful to understand the giants who shaped this art into what it is today. It gives such a rich depth and color to the art.

I love this shot by Gertrude Kasebier of showgirl Eveyln Nesbit from 1902. It has a timelessness about it as well as a classical painting look and feel. Hard to believe that this was taken 95 years ago. It could easily be from the portfolio of a contemporary photographer today. The softness of tone and light is extraordinary.

Recently I purchased a book by National Geographic called The Book of Photographytext by Anne H. Hoy. This has got to be one of the most comprehensive books I have ever read on the subject of the history of photography!

What an amazing compilation of photos and historic research. I highly recommend it to anyone who desires to go beyond simple point-n-click photography. I’m almost embarrassed by how cheaply I purchased this gem of a book. It retails for $40 but I paid a paltry $3 for it (new!) from a dealer on It’s both joyful and sad to find such a bargain. On one had, you get the deal of the century for one of the best books ever written on the subject and, on the other hand, it is a sad SAD testimony to how devalued history has become in our popular culture today.

I think what I like most about studying the history of a subject is how it gives a context that you simply cannot get otherwise. It’s like knowing a dirty little secret to how a process, style or technique evolved. When you know these little secrets, it both inspires and opens your consciousness to explore your art with new eyes.

~ Warmest regards, Rocky

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