"When setting up a shot, a photographer works with composition, lighting, and color to create a subliminal subtext that reinforces or even carries the meaning of his or her subject. This program illustrates how basic components of photography—line, shape, form, texture, balance, volume duality, point of view, depth of field, and perspective—contribute to an image’s impact on the subconscious mind. Commentary is provided by Herb Zettl, author of the seminal Sight Sound Motion, and photographers Jo Whaley, Stephen Johnson, Larry Sultan, and Catherine Wagner. (27 minutes)"
This video looks at the Vietnam War through the eyes of the photographers who covered it. They died with violence, recording a story that was sadder than words could tell. They came from both sides and from a dozen countries. They were professionals, amateurs, soldiers, and adventurers. All they had in common were cameras, guts, and professional brilliance. But beyond a string of Pulitzer Prizes, there was no memorial to these unsung heroes until a group of their surviving comrades collaborated on an astonishing book called, appropriately, Requiem. Distributed by A&E Television Networks. (45 minutes)
Although photography was invented in the first half of the 19th century, the beginning of the 20th century marked extraordinary changes. The Developing Image travels back to the very first time in history when inexpensive handheld cameras gave ordinary people the opportunity to create their own visual images. Through archival footage and interviews with historians and notable photographers, the film explores the age when suddenly pictures were a part of our daily lives: on passports, postcards, in the developing picture press, and in science. World War I photographs even convinced many reluctant Americans that they had a stake in this distant war, and advertisers embraced photography because of its ability to create a fantasy that seemed to be a plausible reality. By the end of the 1920s, photographs—little flat pictures that came to represent the truth—had made their way into virtually every corner of contemporary life. A part of the series American Photography: A Century of Image
Beginning in 1935, a group of New Deal–sponsored photographers roamed the American landscape, capturing the human face of the Great Depression. This film tells the story of the mammoth project, supervised by Roy Stryker of the Farm Security Administration and later made part of the Office of War Information. Viewers will encounter the poignant, iconic images and personal challenges of photographers Gordon Parks, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott, and other visionaries. Interviews with Parks, Louise Rosskam, and Bernarda Shahn—wife of painter and photographer Ben Shahn—shed light on a period in which artistic innovation formed a response to social and economic despair. (56 minutes)
His images are portraits of the nation—strong and weak, black and white, rich and poor—and a message from a man whose fascinating life journey expressed a unique personal vision. Gordon Parks. (60 minutes)
The stark, deceptively simple photographs of Walker Evans have become a part of America's collective memory, forever capturing the places and faces of times long gone. In this program, NewsHour correspondent Ray Suarez outlines Evans' life while talking with Jeff Rosenheim, curator of photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Evans' close friend William Christenberry, about the late photographer's approach to his art, his collaboration with writer James Agee on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, his love of advertising signage, and other topics. (15 minutes)
"Movies, magazines, TV, billboards, the Web—the world is filled with captivating photographic images competing for viewers’ attention. Not surprisingly, citizens of the Global Village are experiencing a growing need for visual literacy: the ability to read between the lines and extract meaning from that daily bombardment. This program takes a close look at the vital importance of visual language skills, how information overload is shortening the human attention span, the proliferation of iconographic communication, and implications for America’s education system. A capsule history of photography, with insights into the medium’s future, is included. (27 minutes)"
This elegant program artistically unfolds the history of photography, including the contributions of Joseph Niépce, Louis Daguerre, Fox Talbot, and the Lumières, with an emphasis on the processes involved in creating photographs. The chemistry of modern film development is described in detail, using computer imaging to illustrate the mechanics of the exposure and development processes. In addition, the recently rediscovered Niépce process is demonstrated for the first time on film, along with the daguerreotype process. (27 minutes)
Renowned artist Jerry Uelsmann is a master of photographic manipulation and montage techniques, which he uses to communicate a surreal vision—intriguing, disturbing—that is distinctly his own. In this program filmed by triple-Emmy Award-winning director Daniel Reeves, Uelsmann discusses the sources, dynamics, and nuances of his bold works of art. A trip into the fascinating alchemical world of Uelsmann’s darkroom and a soaring journey through the surrealistic strata of his powerful photographic creations. Bonus material (DVD only) includes an interview with Uelsmann. (30 minutes + bonus material)
This program addresses the emotionally manipulative power of photography by illustrating how commercial advertising has created an obsession with youth and physical perfection and can exploit viewers’ fascinations with celebrity, sexuality, and violence. The video also demonstrates how photogenic people who adroitly use the visual media have come to dominate the political scene. Commentary is provided by Steve Luker, formerly a creative director with Publicis & Hal Riney; Shanto Iyengar, director of the Political Communication Lab at Stanford University; museum educator Julia Brashares; and others. (27 minutes)
The 1930s brought to all Americans the explosion of mass media devoted to distributing photographic images. Magazines like Life and Look—dedicated to telling stories, primarily through photographs—were rapidly growing in popularity. An Associated Press “wire photo” could be sent anywhere instantaneously, and suddenly, millions of people were seeing the same pictures at the same time. Through archival footage and interviews with journalists, historians, and notable photographers, The Photographic Age depicts how documentary photographers brought the Depression into the living rooms of America, how Americans experienced World War II through the visual immediacy of the camera, and how the consumer frenzy of the 1950s was driven by our desire to possess the images of abundance. A part of the series American Photography: A Century of Images. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (60 minutes).
How do photographic images evoke meaning and emotion? To understand that, viewers first need to understand how the eyes and brain process input from the visual world. After an overview of the biomechanics of vision, this program explains how proximity, similarity, and continuity affect perception; what light is and how lighting types and angles alter an image; and how color theory operates. Commentary is provided by photographers Dale Kistemaker, Catherine Wagner, Jo Whaley, and Larry Sultan. (27 minutes)
Once strictly considered a visual recording device, the camera has expanded beyond its documentational niche and made places for itself in the worlds of fine art, advertising, and news media as well. This program describes existing and emerging genres in the photographic arts, including documentary photography, portraiture, still life, commercial photography, and photojournalism. Commentary is provided by Steve Luker, formerly a creative director with ad agency Publicis & Hal Riney, and photographers Larry Sultan, Ed Kashi, Richard Barnes, Jo Whaley, Dale Kistemaker, and Catherine Wagner. (27 minutes)
This program examines how photographers work with images to communicate stories and ideas and how viewers interpret those images. Message manipulation deriving from point of view, context, editing, superimposing, cropping, recoloring, and captioning are discussed. In addition, selective perception—seeing pictures through the filters of values and prejudices—is studied. Commentary is provided by Doug Nickel, curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Joel Slayton, of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media at San José State University; Shanto Iyengar, director of the Political Communication Lab at Stanford University; and others. (27 minutes)
The power of the photographic image remains undiminished in the latter part of the 20th century, even though it faces new challenges from television, technology, motion pictures, and elsewhere. Photography Transformed examines surveillance photography and the Cuban Missile Crisis, searing images from the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights violence—while highlighting the transformation to the new era of image-driven celebrity, presidential “image politics,” and the challenge to achieve photographic truth when computers have the ability to alter photography without detection. The film presents a message that is very clear: despite new technologies, still images—whether captured on film or as electrons—will endure. A part of the series American Photography: A Century of Images. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (60 minutes)
Since the Civil War, portrait and snapshot photography have provided a visual history of life—and transformed society. This program explores how professional and amateur photographers capture the essence of people while considering the intensely personal nature of portraits and snapshots, their use as means of self-exploration and cultural narrative, and concerns involving their commodification and decontextualization. Commentary is provided by photographers Michael Collopy, Dale Kistemaker, Larry Sultan, Catherine Wagner, Richard Barnes, and Ed Kashi. (27 minutes)
With an overview of its pioneers—called “the primitives of photography” by Felix Nadar—this program explores the brief golden era between the time that photography was invented and the time it became an industry. The transformation of the camera from mere recording device to new artistic medium is seen in works that feature deliberate composition as well as in staged photos and composite prints. The technical processes by which photographers enhanced their works is also explained, especially in the creation of Oscar Rejlander’s precursor of Photoshop, “The Two Ways of Life.” Among others, the video covers Henry Fox Talbot, Hippolyte Bayard, Édouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, and Henry Peach Robinson, focusing on “Open Door,” “Self Portrait as a Drowned Man,” “Cloister at St. Triomphe in Arles,” and “Fading Away.” A part of the series Photo. (26 minutes)
Roy E. Stryker headed the Historical Division of the Farm Security Administration from 1935 to 1943. This program tells the story of how Stryker, a low-level federal bureaucrat with integrity and vision, managed a massive New Deal project to document the Great Depression. These photos—nearly 200,000 by both established and aspiring photographers, including Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein, and many others—became the defining statement of the era. Many signature images of poverty and hardship are included. Narrated by Beverly Brannan, curator of photography at the Library of Congress; Alan Fern, retired director of the National Portrait Gallery; and Peter Kuznick, professor of history at American University. (23 minutes)
Photographs have the potential to present powerful truths—or to create convincing fictions. This program uses case studies involving Iwo Jima, Elian Gonzalez, and O. J. Simpson to show how images can be manipulated to influence the way viewers perceive events. The ethics of photography and the positive and negative impacts of digital technology, which is steadily eroding the border between artistic and documentary photography, are covered. Commentary is provided by photo historian Diana Gaston, former curator at San Francisco Camerawork; Joel Slayton of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media; and others. (27 minutes)