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Link George Eastman Museum From the ancient discovery of the camera obscura to the 18th century mechanical devices used to create silhouettes such as the physionotrace, this initial chapter explores the inventions and inventors that preceded photography. It recreates the experiments of Johann Schulze who proved the light sensitivity of certain silver salts and Thomas Wedgwood’s early attempts to make photographic images. These early pioneers contributed to the discovery of photography in 1839. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant number MA-10-13-0194. Link Contemporary Photograms These Contemporary Photogram Artists Do Not Use A Camera To Create Amazing Photographs Link On Photography By Susan Sontag In the book, Sontag expresses her views on the history and present-day role of photography in capitalist societies as of the 1970s. Sontag discusses many examples of modern photography. Among these, she contrasts Diane Arbus's work with that of Depression-era documentary photography commissioned by the Farm Security Administration. She also explores the history of American photography in relation to the idealistic notions of America put forth by Walt Whitman and traces these ideas through to the increasingly cynical aesthetic notions of the 1970s, particularly in relation to Arbus and Andy Warhol. Sontag argues that the proliferation of photographic images had begun to establish within people a "chronic voyeuristic relation" to the world around them. Among the consequences of photography is that the meaning of all events is leveled and made equal. This idea did not originate with Sontag, who often synthesized European cultural thinkers with her particular eye toward the United States. As she argues, perhaps originally with regard to photography, the medium fostered an attitude of anti-intervention. Sontag says that the individual who seeks to record cannot intervene, and that the person who intervenes cannot then faithfully record, for the two aims contradict each other. In this context, she discusses in some depth the relationship of photography to politics. Link Vera Lutter Link Unusually Long Exposure Photographs by Michael Wesely