Pluie de Photographes


Found this book in BSU library after Tuesday’s lectures. I’m looking into the transition and upheavals that occurred in the mid-nineteenth century as photography liberated painting from its representational shackles… I’m interested in how a similar thing is happening right now (but more so!) with the dominance of digital image making. The title of the image on this cover is ‘Pluie de Photographes’. Now, my French never went beyond year 7, but even I can figure out (with the aid of the image itself!) that this translates as something along the lines of ‘rain of photographs’ (genius huh?!)

This set me thinking about the realisation that this is what it must have felt like back then – the rate at which a painter produced an accurate picture (not to mention the level of mastery required) was entirely normal to the human psyche until the camera came along, so the blinding pace at which it became possible to produce a representational image must have been staggering, not to mention the perceived requisite level of skill required to produce one of these new-fangled ‘photographs’…!

If, in the 1850s, the general public felt they were being subjected to a shower of photographs, it is little wonder that today, with the trillions of images floating around, we have become saturated with images. We are drowning…! So what of silver halide now and into the future…?

Click for more information on Heinrich Schwarz


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