World Photography Day is celebrated today

World Photography Day is celebrated on 19 August. It was established in 2009 at the initiative of an Australian photographer by the name of Korske Ara. The day was chosen since a method of making a daguerreotype, the prototype of photograph, was introduced to the public on this day in 1839. The invention belongs to Louis Jacques Daguerre (1787-1851), whose patent on such a promising innovation was bought out by the French government, which declared it “a gift to the world". Daguerre's invention was the first step towards photography as publicly available "technology".

Photography, which today is firmly entrenched in almost every aspect of our lives, has a long history. However, daguerreotype - the process of obtaining an image on metal plate - is considered the first practical method of photography. It, or rather taking a fixed image, was created in the early 1820s by the French inventor Joseph Niepce, but was named after Louis Daguerre, since he managed to get the image and fix it on copper plate coated with silver. Daguerreotype is therefore considered the ancestor of modern photography.

In the years that followed, many scientists continued to refine the process of making photographs using different materials and reagents. In 1861, James Maxwell succeeded in reproducing colour photographs, and the invention of the digital camera by Sony in 1981 made it possible to take digital photos and do away with traditional film (although many professional photographers still prefer it in their work). Today, in the age of digital technology, we can easily make photos ourselves that will make us smile, sorrow or hold our breath.

Certainly, the special place the photo occupies in life of those who has chosen this occupation as the profession, after all their work rightfully is evaluated as art. That is why today all photographers may be congratulated on their professional holiday.

World Photography Day is a celebration of all those who love photography. Photographs today are an invaluable keepsake, a serious job, a daily necessity and a hobby. In a general sense, photography is the art of taking pictures, where the main creative process is to find and choose the composition, lighting and suitable point (or points) of the snapshot. These choices are determined by experience and skill of the photographer, as well as by his personal preference and choice, which is characteristic of any art form.

The photographs depicting “the views and types" of the Caucasus comprise the heart of the collection of unique photographs of the last third of the 19th - early 20th centuries in the museum Collection. The variety of nationalities, genre scenes reflecting the life and everyday routine of this region, picturesque places, villages, and architectural monuments were imprinted by Russian photographers D. Yermakov (1845-1916), V. Barkanov (1826-1892), F. Gadaev (1858) -1896), L. Rogozinsky (1864-1904). Working predominantly in the genre of panoramic photography, they expanded it, adding ethnographic details, thereby creating a photo chronicle of this region of the Russian Empire and reflecting its rich cultural and historical heritage.

Production of picture postcards with “views and types" of the Caucasus was launched in the beginning of the 20th century. They represented a separate branch of Russian artistic culture. It was facilitated by the permission for private production of blank cards for the so-called open letters following the standard of the Universal Postal Union*, in 1894.

Along with the sights' postcards, a series of postcards with the portraits of Russian ballet and theater actors and opera singers were very popular. The photographs made in the photographic workshop under the Imperial Theaters’ Direction defined the multi-format replicating. The works of K. Bergamasco (1830-1896) in this genre were very popular. He was awarded with the title of the Imperial Theaters photographer.
The photographs of the Romanov’s family members hold a specific place in the museum Collection exposition. Such well-known professional photographers as K. Bergamasco, S. Levitsky (1819-1898), K. Bulla (1855-1929), co-owner of the photographic studio "K.E. Von Gan and K. A. Yagelsky (? -1916) not only made the portraits of "August personages", but illustrated the imperial family public life as well. Since the reign of Alexander II, most of the imperial family photographs were meant for publishing in the press, and later for printing on postcards.

All this contributed to the creation of artistic image of the Romanovs’ dynasty reign. The same referred to the last emperor, whose family life was memorized not only on the ceremonial portraits, but in "the running commentary" shots of the photo chronicle as well.

To summarize, all layers of the photography history have survived to varying degrees: unique, aura-like images are in demand, photo studios still exist, photobooks occupy gigabytes on every possible device, Kodak still allows us push a button and not care about anything else, millions of people create tens of millions of everyday images daily, and a few continue to explore the intersection of photography and art.

On the cover: Photograph of a master with barrelorgan in the studio of Giovanni Bacigalupo. Germany, East Berlin. 1964. Heffer Douglas