20th Century Photographs

With the advent of the 20th century black & white photographs replace the sepia tones of the 19th century. The selection of cameras, papers and equipment increases exponentially as do the number of professional photographers. Thanks to the work of George Eastman and his ilk, there are now large numbers of amateur photographers who work diligently.

Pictorialism a photographic movement in vogue from around 1885 following the widespread introduction of the dry-plate process, has reached its height in the early years of the 20th century. Pictorialism largely subscribed to the idea that art photography needed to emulate the painting and etching of the time. Among the methods used were soft focus, special filters and lens coatings, heavy manipulation in the darkroom, and exotic printing processes. From 1898 rough-surface printing papers were added to the repertoire, to further break up a picture’s sharpness. Some artists “etched” the surface of their prints using fine needles. The aim of such techniques was to achieve what the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica termed, in discussing Pictorialism, “personal artistic expression”.

Industry is gearing up for expansion and there are photographers there to record the expansion and to help sell the products that are made by those machines.

The fashion world is covered by hundreds of photographers working for dozens of magazines.

This section has been moved to our new website http://www.20thcenturyphotographs.com where you will find an eclectic mix of images. For the most part these are anonymous or relatively obscure commercial photographers.


The premier 19th Century photo gallery