Photography and Fiction

The first photograph was taken in 1826, the image- Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras was taken using Camera Obscura. Camera Obsura was the predecessor of the modern camera. A darkened box with a lens projecting the image onto a screen inside of the box. (2008, p.11)

Photography, during its birth and uprising was by many viewed as something entirely different to art and by many not as valuable and prestigious. French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire believed photography should stay as a “handmaid of the arts”, he suggested that paintings held more value.

In late 1860’s Pictorialism came to life and photography began to be regard more significantly in the art world. The movement described by ‘a photographic movement dating from the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that sought to elevate the photograph to the status of painting or drawing’ (Tate, no date.) The Pictorial movement happened at a time when camera’s were becoming easier to use and photographers began to experiment with techniques making photographs less of a representation of what was there and more of an art piece. It used elements such as light and shade as well as blurring and an attempt to make the photographs look more like photos. Charles Hagen, photographer, teacher and writer wrote in the New York Times of how “A main goal of Pictorialism was to make photography an expressive art form on a par with any other medium. To this end many Pictorialists borrowed themes and attitudes from the tortured, dreamlike work of painters like Edvard Munch, as well as the atmospheric Japonisme of James Abbott McNeill Whistler.” (Hagen, 1992).

The Pictorial movement bridged the gap between fine art and photography and allowed modern photography as we know it today to be respected and regarded within the art world, by both critics, galleries and the public.





Renner, E. (2008) Pinhole Photography: From Historic Technique to Digital Application (Alternative Process Photography). Massachusetts: Focal Press.

The Modern Public and Photography’, in Alan Trachtenberg (ed), Classic Essays on Photography (New York: Leete’s Island Books, 1980).

Tate (no date) Pictorialism. Available at: (Accessed: 10/03/2017).

Hagen, C. (1992) ‘Review/Photography; A Movement Idealizing Times Of Contentment Finds New Favor’, The New York times, 27 October. Available at: (Accessed: 12 March 2017).


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