Seminal No.1
The world is huge......... as is history, and then within that history, the history of photography. Recently, through a set of circumstances, several names were used in conversations and the inevitable Google search ensued. Then followed the inevitable time travel, the personal encounter with characters and artifacts, and me deeply impacted as one who had seen and stood near the unburning bush.

Looking back.......... to the very beginnings of photography and the people who have been seminal to its development through history, for me, is like looking back down a road that stretches behind me and way way away, right back thru time and space to them. It's a long and winding road and that connects all who walk on it irrespective of time an space.
© Graham Hughes 2014

I don't think I am alone in the experience of researching names mentioned in conversation or crossed in reading, and a subsequent whole new world of inspiration and wonder opening up. We can never be fully exposed to all the main characters in this developing photography story, we will never ever know everything. New works and people are being added yearly, from discoveries and revisions of historical contexts, from brand spanking new discoveries in our own contemporary times, and the reworking of older processes in the light of new technolgies and knowledge.

As in any story there are plenty of smaller parts people have played in the plot that contribute massively to the main theme. The central characters traditionally get the spotlight and the larger slice of glory, but in the supporting cast of characters often found in the shadows, is that favourite player who impacts us hugely........... maybe even over and above the center stage superstars.

© Graham Hughes 2014

My personal journey with photography seems to be very much like a complex play of characters and information. The more I find out, the less I know. The less I know, the more I find out.

Listed below and in subsequent articles of the same title plus one, are some of my discoveries, the kind that change you in some way, that begin new directions, or new and deeper understandings. The exposure to all of these can leave you drop jawed and gaping like a wide mouthed frog sometimes. Turning and looking back is the way forward for me. These peoples lives are fascinating stories in themselves and all share a similar space, time context.

© Graham Hughes 2014

Gustave Le Gray (1820–1884)

I am passionate about shooting paper, and presently shoot more paper than any other kind of medium with a light sensitive emulsion. A friend asked me if I knew about Le Gray. I hadn't, so I began a journey. Here are some links to explore. Of course for us visual types, google searching just images will get us to the heart very quickly. Le Grey had been long gone before he was really appreciated, the discovery of some images in the 1970's in England have brought Le Gray back into the spotlight he deserves.
These are wonderful images.

I remember doing Garibaldi & The Thousand for 6th form history. It never occured to me to try and find an image of him.........the internet didn't exist for mere mortals, but I guess there were libraries. As an educationalist, I wonder what a difference it would have made to people who were not as into history as I was, for them to see this image. Taken by Gustav Le Gray. Garibaldi jumps out of the pages into my world.

Henri Le Secq (1818 – 1882)
A contemporary of Le Grays was

Charles Nègre (1820–1880)
Negre was another contemporary of Le Gray & Le Secq. All three of these men studied with painter Paul Delaroche. www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/paul-delaroche They were also fellow members of the fledgling Société Héliographique, the first photographic society.
I especially love that in a patriarchal society or even male dominated history, as afr as attention and books go, at this time these exceptional women as well as others crashed into photographic history and left a mark that touches us moreso because they were the border breakers and the exception, despite them being from a privileged class to do so.

Lady Hawarden (1822–1865)

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879)

There are many more discoveries to be made, I find myself forever changed by the images I see by these far distant and removed people. For me they still live and walk with me on the road, and I am not the same for walking with them a while, or they walking with me across time.

© Graham Hughes 2014


Sami Serola (inactiv… said:

For me a lot to discover here =) Thanks for sharing!
10 years ago

Graham Hughes replied to Sami Serola (inactiv…:

thanks Sami, some neat tangents there............and inspiring imagery.
10 years ago

Bob Taylor said:

Inspiring, indeed! And humbling. What amazing work.
10 years ago ( translate )

Graham Hughes replied to Bob Taylor:

It is isn't it Bob. There is an unspoken thought that I think we can all have in our heads that relates to technology and its byproducts. That thought is that we are the top of the time pyramid, it's never been better or more creative, or the best is now..................images like this from the very beginning are humbling to that unspoken assumption. Thanks for reading Bob. Then there's Eadweard Muybridge. This is a good watch. Click on the full version. tesseractfilm.com
10 years ago