1897
1890

Peter Henry Emerson publishes a pamphlet entitled The Death of Naturalistic Photography: A Renunciation, in which he disclaims his earlier opinions. Instead of doubting the validity of photography as an art form, he consents to the notion of the photographer's freedom to manipulate the image.

Photo History
1897

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) begins to edit Camera Notes, a journal published by the Camera Club of New York.

Photo History
1897

Frederic Eugene Ives (1856-1937) develops first complete system for natural color photography - the Kromskop. It involved simultaneously make exposures on three black & white glass negatives employing red, green, and blue filters. Pearson's Magazine described the new process in December of 1897. 

Photo History
1900

Eastman Kodak Company introduces the Brownie box camera through an extensive advertising campaign. The camera costs only a dollar and appeals to children as well as adults. Considering inflation, a $1 purchase in 1900 is approximately $26 in 2012.

Photo History
1900

In Germany, Deckel invents a prototype leaf shutter and Zeiss introduces the Tessar lens.

Photo History
1900

Harry Shepherd's photographs of the Tuskegee Institute (a school that provided vocational training for African Americans) are included in the Paris Exposition.

Photo History
1900

Frances Benjamin Johnston organizes an exhibition of 28 female photographers that opens in Paris concurrent with the Exposition. The 142 prints travel to Russia before returning to Paris, where they are shown at the Photo Club in 1901.

Photo History
1901

F. Holland Day's The New School of American Photography exhibition in London and Paris includes 35 Edward Steichen prints.

Photo History
1901

Edward Curtis starts working on a project photographing Native Americans, which later results in the twenty-volume set, The North American Indian (1907-30). Over 1500 photogravures are printed in the books, with accompanying text.

Photo History
1902

Alfred Stieglitz stops working with the Camera Club of New York and forms the Photo-Secession with a group of other photographers that includes Gertrude Käsebier. The group advocates a pictorial approach to the medium and emphasizes craftsmanship.

Photo History
1902

August Sander and another photographer buy a portraiture studio and name it Studio Sander and Stuckenberg. 

Photo History
1903

Alfred Stieglitz begins publishing the quarterly Camera Work, which consists of hand-tipped photogravures, criticism, and reproductions of work made by vanguard artists. 

Photo History
1903

After starting to photograph cathedrals around France and England in 1898, Frederick H. Evans makes one of his best-known images, Steps to Chapter House: A Sea of Steps, Wells Cathedral. 

Photo History
1904

Lewis Hine begins photographically documenting immigrants as they arrive at Ellis Island, a project he continues for the next five years.

Photo History
1904

Auguste and Louis Lumière invent the Autochrome process, the first practical single-plate method of color photography. They begin commercial manufacture of the plates in 1907.

Photo History
1904

Metropolitan magazine commissions Alvin Langdon Coburn to produce a series of portraits depicting Britain's leading artists and literati. The photographs soon establish Coburn as one of the leading portraitists of the era. 

Photo History
1905

Alfred Stieglitz opens the gallery '291' in New York promoting photography.
In the same year Lewis Hine uses photography to expose the exploitation of children in American factories, encouraging protective laws to be passed.

Photo History
1905

The Teaching Institute for Photography in Munich starts accepting women as students.

Photo History
1906

August Sander's first solo exhibition is held at the Landhaus Pavilion in Linz.

Photo History
1906


Photographs from the destruction of a major earthquake in San Francisco are published in the newspaper New York American eight days after the disaster.

Photo History
1907


American photographer Edward S. Curtis publishes the first volume of The North American Indian.

Photo History
1907

Clarence H. White teaches the earliest photography courses offered at Columbia University.

Photo History
1908

Lewis Hine is hired by the National Child Labor Committee to photograph children working in factories and mines. The NCLC believe that the photographs will be instrumental in the effort to pass legislation that ends child labor.

Photo History
1908

AGFA (Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation) began to distribute film for the motion picture industry. By 1913 they had 40% of the market and became the largest competitor to Eastman Kodak. 

Photo History
1908

Born in Thorn, Germany, Lotte Jacobi (1896-1990) takes her first photograph with a pinhole camera at the are of 12. 

Photo History
1909

Lewis Wickes Hine begins working on The Pittsburgh Survey, a study of the industrial city and its working-class inhabitants. 

Photo History
1909

August Sander sells his Linz photographic studio and moves to Cologne. The following year, he founds another studio in Lindenthal. 

Photo History
1910

Atget receives two new projects: documenting all of the statues in the Tuileries Garden in Paris and making a number of albums for the Bibliothèque Nationale. 

Photo History
1910

Anton Giulio Bragaglia and his brother Arturo formulate the first futurist statements in the field of photography. Anton introduces his notion of photodynamism, believing that photography has unlimited potential capacities for capturing the complexity of movement, rhythm, and reality.

Photo History
1910

Alfred Stieglitz curates the International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in Buffalo, New York.

Photo History
1911


The Clarence H. White School of Photography opens in New York City. White's students include photographers such as Margaret Bourke-White and Dorothea Lange.

Photo History
1911

Edward Weston opens his own portrait studio in Tropico, California. He becomes successful working in a soft-focus, Pictorial style.

Photo History
1911

Chim was born David Szymin on November 20, 1911, in Warsaw, Poland, then a province of Czarist Russia. 

Photo History
1912

"Weegee" (he will continue to be known as Arthur Fellig for the next two decades) makes the decision to leave school to help support his family. His first job was as a tintype photographer.

Photo History
1912

Eastman Kodak Company develops a photographic research laboratory, one of the first in the United States.

Photo History
1912

Gertrude Käsebier resigns from the Photo-Secession due to differences between herself and Alfred Stieglitz over "straight" photography. A number of years later, Käsebier founds the Pictorial Photographers of America with Clarence White and Alvin Langdon Coburn.

Photo History
1913

Alfred Stieglitz devotes a double issue of Camera Work to Edward Steichen's photographs.

Photo History
1913

Alvin Langdon Coburn publishes Men of Mark, with portraits of Mark Twain, Henry James, Henri Matisse, and Theodore Roosevelt, amongst others.

Photo History
1913

John Heartfield moves to Berlin, where he begins meeting people in avant-garde circles. Five years later, he is one of the founders of the Berlin Dada group.

Photo History
1914

While working for Leitz, a firm making scientific instruments in Wetzlar, Oskar Barnack builds an all-metal, single-shutter, miniature camera using standard 35mm motion-picture film. This is the prototype for the Leica camera, which would not be manufactured until after World War I.

Photo History
1914

Dorothea Lange starts studying at the New York Training School for Teachers, where she decides to become a photographer.

Photo History
1914

Doris Ulmann takes up photography and studies at Columbia with Clarence White.

Photo History
1915

While serving as a soldier in World War I, André Kertész takes photographs of the fighting and its effects on Polish villages. Two years later, some of this work is published in the illustrated magazine Erdékes Ujság.

Photo History
1915

Paul Strand, who had studied photography with Lewis Hine while a student at Ethical Culture in New York, starts taking photographs which are more sharply focused than the Pictorial aesthetic of his earlier work. Strand depicts urban life in many of his photographs taken during 1915.

Photo History
1916

In October 1916 and June 1917, Paul Strand's photographs are included in Camera Work. The unadorned portraits and photographic abstractions signal a shift away from the soft focus pictorialism of the Photo-Secession to straight photography.

Photo History
1916

James VanDerZee opens Guaranty Photos, his first photographic studio in Harlem. Over the next seventy years, he compiles an extensive record of middle-class African-Americans, producing more than 75,000 glass plates, negatives, and prints.

Photo History
1916

The production of platinum paper stops around the time of World War I, as the cost of the paper becomes too high. Palladium papers are introduced, producing almost identical results. Within a decade, this paper also becomes too expensive to manufacture.

Photo History
1916

Ansel Adams takes his first photograph of the Yosemite Valley.

Photo History
1916

Cornelius M. Battey, a portrait photographer with studios in Cleveland and New York, moves to Tuskegee, Alabama. At the Tuskegee Institute, a school where African Americans pursue vocational training, Battey becomes the head of the Photograph Division. While in Alabama, he photographs residents as well as prominent figures such as Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Photo History
1916

Alvin Langdon Coburn, Gertrude Käsebier, Karl Struss, and Clarence White found the Pictorial Photographers of America.

Photo History
1917

Alfred Stieglitz stops publishing Camera Work. In the same year, he starts taking photographs of Georgia O'Keefe. Stieglitz takes over 300 portraits of O'Keefe over a period of years.

Photo History
1917

Alvin Langdon Coburn shows his Vortographs, the first purely abstract photographic images.

Photo History
1918


Dada artist Christian Schad starts making schadographs by placing objects on the surface of light-sensitive paper. These are some of the earliest intentionally-made abstract photographs.

Photo History
1918

Imogen Cunningham, a year after moving to San Francisco, works in Francis Bruguière's photographic studio.

Photo History
1918

Having studied photography with Clarence White in New York, Laura Gilpin returns to Colorado and begins working on an extensive project photographing the Southwest.

Photo History
1919

Berlin Dada artists John Heartfield, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, and George Grosz begin making photomontage pieces. The same year, Russian artists Gustav Klutsis and Aleksandr Rodchenko also start using the medium. The German and Russian artists offer competing claims of having invented photomontage, but create these pieces for similar ideological reasons.

Photo History
1919

Dorothea Lange opens a studio in San Francisco, that she operates until 1940, when she establishes a studio in Berkeley, California.

Photo History
1920

Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand work on the film Manhatta, which depicts the city's modern elements and incorporates quotations from Walt Whitman.

Photo History
1920

Gertrude Käsebier closes her New York photographic studio ca. 1920, after operating it for over twenty years and developing her own portraiture style.

Photo History
1920

Eugène Atget sells the French government many of his photographs of Old Paris that he started taking in 1898. He continues to photograph, but instead of recording elements of Paris that were in risk of disappearing, he began to work in a surrealist framework influenced by Man Ray and others.

Photo History
1921

May Ran moves to Paris, where he makes his first Rayographs. These cameraless prints are made by placing objects directly on photographic paper and exposing them to the light.

Photo History
1921

The German Professional Guild of Photographers allows women to become full members

Photo History
1921

Between 1921 and 1924, Germaine Krull works as a freelance architectural and industrial photographer in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Photo History
1921

Martin Munkacsi begins to photograph sports for the Hungarian magazine Az Est.

Photo History
1922

Edward Weston travels to New York, where he meets Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and Charles Sheeler. He photographs the ARMCO Steelworks in Ohio, which marks a turning point in his career. His "straight" approach to photographing the Steelworks differs significantly from his earlier Pictorialist photographs.

Photo History
1922

In collaboration with his wife Lucia, László Moholy-Nagy makes his first photograms.

Photo History
1923

Edward Steichen becomes chief photographer for Condé Nast Publications. Over the next 15 years, he regularly publishes in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

Photo History
1923

Tina Modotti and Edward Weston move to Mexico City, where Modotti becomes Weston's apprentice.

Photo History
1923

Alexandr Rodchenko makes photomontages illustrating Vladimir Mayakovsky's poem entitled "About This." This was one of the many projects Rodchenko and Mayakovsky worked on together.

Photo History
1924

At the end of the year, Leitz manufactures the first six Leica cameras and publicly introduces the camera in 1925.

Photo History
1924

From 1924 to 1926, Berenice Abbott works as a studio assistant to May Ray.

Photo History
1924

Edward Weston abandons the use of soft-focus techniques and starts work on his precise studies of natural forms.

Photo History
1924

After having worked as a passport photographer for three years, Weegee is hired as a darkroom technician for Acme Newpictures (which would soon become United Press International Photos).

Photo History
1924

From 1924 to 1932, Germaine Krull works in Paris as a fashion, portrait, advertising, and industrial photographer.

Photo History
1924

Publication of the surrealist journal La Révolution surréaliste begins and continues for the next ten years. The journal's editor, Pierre Naville, uses photographic reproductions extensively throughout the journal, arguing that photographs show the absurdities of everyday life.

Photo History
1925

Berenice Abbott starts working as a professional portrait photographer in Paris.

Photo History
1925

László Moholy-Nagy publishes Malerei, Photographie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film) while teaching at the Bauhaus. Even though photography was not taught at the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy's arrival at the school a couple of years prior to the publication of his book led to increased interest in photographic experimentation by Bauhaus students.

Photo History
1925

The Munich Institute replaces Pictorialist photographers on its staff with people working in the style of the New Objectivity movement.

Photo History
1925

In 1925 and 1926, Lucia Moholy, a portrait and architectural photographer, documents Walter Gropius' Bauhaus buildings and the faculty teaching at the school.

Photo History
1926

The magazine Uhu is the first to publish one of Karl Blossfeldt's photographs.

Photo History
1926

Willi Münzenberg starts publishing Der Arbeiter Fotograf.

Photo History
1926

Man Ray publishes four of Atget's photographs in the June and December issues of La Révolution surréaliste.

Photo History
1927

Germaine Krull's industrial photographs, expressive of the New Objectivity movement, are published in her influential book Métal.

Photo History
1927

Eugène Atget dies. Berenice Abbott purchases thousands of negatives and prints from his estate.

Photo History
1927

Publication of the journal Das Deutsche Lichtbild (the German Photograph) begins. The first issue includes a disagreement betweeen Albert Renger-Patzsch and László Moholy-Nagy over their differing approaches to the medium.

Photo History
1927

Carl Georg Heise curates Albert Renger-Patzsch's first museum exhibition.

Photo History
1927

Lotte Jacobi's career in portrait photography begins at her family's studio.

Photo History
1927

Ansel Adams publishes his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras.

Photo History
1927

Martin Munkacsi arrives in Berlin and almost immediately receives a three-year contract photographing for the Ullstein Press.

Photo History
1928

André Breton's first novel, Nadja, makes extensive use of photographic imagery.

Photo History
1928

Franke and Heidecke reintroduce a twin-lens reflex camera after the design for this type of camera had practically disappeared in 1910. The camera is named the Rolleiflex and is in production for the following four decades.

Photo History
1928

A book of Karl Blossfeldt's 96 enlargements of plant forms, Urformen der Kunst (Prototypes of Art), is published. The work exemplifies the aesthetic of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement.

Photo History
1928

Albert Renger-Patzsch's book The World Is Beautiful is published. It becomes one of the most influential books of the New Objectivity movement.

Photo History
1929

The Film und Foto exhibition opens in Germany, organized by the Deutscher Werkbund. The exhibition features over 1,200 photographs made by over 200 photographers. Each section has its own curator; Edward Steichen and Edward Weston organize the American section of the exhibition. Franz Roh's book Foto-Auge accompanies the Film und Foto exhibition.

Photo History
1929

Berenice Abbott returns to New York from France and begins photographing the city in a detailed, precise, and systemic manner.

Photo History
1929

Bill Brandt leaves a Swiss tuberculosis sanitarium to study with Man Ray in Paris. He works closely with Man Ray in his studio for three months and continues to see him regularly over the next two years. Man Ray's surrealist circle has a profound effect on Brandt.

Photo History
1929

A selection of photographs from August Sander's ambitious project exhaustively documenting Germans with different backgrounds is published in Antlitz der Zeit (Face of Our Time).

Photo History
1929

Ilse Bing begins working for Frankfurter Illustrierte, soon after buying her first camera.

Photo History
1929

David Seymour attends the Staatliche Akademie für Graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe in Leipzig, Germany and studies new color printing technology.

Photo History
1930

Margaret Bourke-White makes the first of several trips to Russia. Some of her Russia photographs appear in Fortune and the New York Times Magazine.

Go to ICP holdings of work by Margaret Bourke-White

Photo History
1930

John Heartfield starts contributing photomontage work critical of Germany's political climate to Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung.

Photo History
1930

The Workers' International Relief, a strikers' aid group in Berlin, starts and funds Workers' Camera Leagues in several European and American cities.

Photo History
1931

Walter Benjamin writes "A Short History of Photography."

Photo History
1931

Margaret Bourke-White publishes Eyes on Russia.

Photo History
1931

The Workers' Film and Photo League in New York plan a Proletarian Photo exhibition and announce the first of many photography courses that will be taught by the League.

Photo History
1931

American Photography is the first exhibition to open at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. On view are photographs by Edward Steichen, Matthew Brady, Gertrude Kasebier, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler, and Clarence White.

Photo History
1932

David Seymour becomes the Paris representative for Ruan, a Warsaw press and publicity photography firm.

Photo History
1932

11 photographers announce the formation of Group f/64: Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Preston Holder, Consuelo Kanaga, Alma Lavenson, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, Brett Weston, and Edward Weston. The photographers share an approach that emphasizes the realistic presentation of subjects.

Photo History
1932

Building on the 1932 ground breaking exhibition, Surrealism Paintings, Drawings & Photographs Julien Levy organized Anti-Graphic Photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. This is the first time that Walker Evans' photographs are exhibited.

From 1931 to 1937 the Julien Levy Gallery was located at 602 Madison Avenue, New York, NY. The Julien Levy Archives are at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Photo History
1932

From 1932 though 1933, Lotte Jacobi photographs in Russia and Central Asia.

Photo History
1932

Ben Shahn starts taking photographs. His early projects document the streets of lower Manhattan as well as labor protests at Union Square and City Hall.

Photo History
1932

Henri Cartier-Bresson's first photography exhibition is held at the Julien Levy Gallery. The same year, his first reportage appear in Vu.

Photo History
1932

Lisette Model publishes her first images in Regards.

Photo History
1932

Lee Miller returns to New York from Paris, after having assisted May Ray and taking her own surrealist photographs. She opens a studio in New York, which she runs for the next two years.

Photo History
1933

The Museum of Modern Art exhibits Walker Evans' photographs. The same year, Evans travels to Cuba and his photographs are included in Carleton Beals's book The Crime of Cuba.

Photo History
1933

The Nazi government closes the Bauhaus.

Photo History
1933

Gisèle Freund flees Germany for Paris, where she enrolls at the Sorbonne and begins work on a dissertation about French 19th century photography.

Photo History
1933

David Seymour borrows a camera from David Rappaport, a family friend who owns Rap, a picture agency in Paris. Seymour produces prints and stamps them "Chim," a shortened phonetic French version of his last name. He begins photographing Paris at night and publishes pictures in Vu, Regards, and La Vie Ouvrière.

Photo History
1934

Gasparcolor materials introduce the first commercial dye destruction process, the forerunner of the Cibachrome process introduced after World War II.

Photo History
1934

The Nazi government destroys August Sander's book Antlitz der Zeit and its photographic plates.

Photo History
1934

David Seymour becomes a staff photographer for Regards magazine, with which he is closely associated until 1939.

Photo History
1934

Margaret Bourke-White publishes Photographs of U.S.S.R., a limited edition portfolio.

Photo History
1934

Walker Evans publishes his first story in Fortune magazine, "The Communist Party."

Photo History
1934

Berenice Abbott teaches photography at The New School for Social Research.

Photo History
1935

Walter Benjamin writes "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," arguing that the notion of an authentic original is removed from the medium of photography, therefore transforming traditional aesthetic values. This displacement ushers in the possibility of a more democratic tradition of artistic production.

Photo History
1935

The U. S. government hires photographers to document the need for and effectiveness of government aid programs during the Depression. These photographers, working for the Resettlement Administration (RA) and the Farm Security Administration (FSA), compile a vast photographic record of rural America. Roy Stryker heads the photographic division and hires a group of photographers that includes Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans, Carl Mydans, Arthur Rothstein, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, John Collier, and Gordon Parks.

Photo History
1935

Berenice Abbott receives support from The Works Project Administration (WPA) for her photographic documentation of New York.

Photo History
1935

Weegee starts freelancing as a police beat photographer on the night shift. His photographs are published in nearly all New York's papers over the next ten years.

Photo History
1935

David Seymour photographs the Spanish Civil War as a special correspondent for the French weekly Regards.

Photo History
1935

Kodak introduces Kodachrome film, the first commercially successful amateur color film.

Photo History
1935

Lotte Jacobi emigrates to New York from Germany. She opens a photographic studio with her sister Ruth; they operate the studio for the next 20 years.

Photo History
1935

1935-44
American photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and others are hired by Roy Stryker, director of the Farm Security Administration’s Information Division, to document the plight of poor sharecroppers in the Depression-era South.

Photo History
1936

Gerda Taro and Robert Capa photograph the Spanish Civil War.

Photo History
1936

Walker Evans takes a leave of absence from the FSA in order to work on a Fortune magazine project with writer James Agee.

Photo History
1936

Life publishes Gisèle Freund's first photographic essay.

Photo History
1936

Helen Levitt takes her first photographs, images of children in Harlem.

Photo History
1936

Bill Brandt publishes The English at Home, after returning to England where he photographs for magazines such as Lilliput, Harper's Bazaar, and News Chronicle.

Photo History
1936

The Photo League forms after a split in the New York Film and Photo League.

Photo History
1936The first issue of Life magazine features Margaret Bourke-White's photograph of Fort Peck Dam on the cover. When Henry Luce starts publishing Life, the photographic staff consists of Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Peter Stackpole, and Thomas McAvoy.
Photo History
1936

Margaret Bourke-White and Erskine Caldwell collaborate on a project documenting the life of sharecroppers in the southern United States; the photographs and text are published the following year.

Photo History
1937

In India, S. Lakshiminarasu starts publishing the magazine Indian Photography and Cinematography.

Photo History
1937

The International Exhibition in Paris shows some of Helmut Gernsheim's photographs.

Photo History
1937

Georges Potonniée’s The History of the Discovery of Photography, translated by Edward Epstean, is published. In this book, Potonniée writes that the earliest prediction of photographic processes was expressed in Tiphaigne de La Roche's novel Giphantie.

Photo History
1937

Hansel Mieth is the second female photographer to be hired at Life.

Photo History
1937

Having completed her doctoral dissertation a year earlier at the Sorbonne in Paris, Gisèle Freund publishes La Photographie en France au XIXème Siècle. This text about nineteenth-century photography in France is the first dissertation on photographic history.

Photo History
1937

Margaret Bourke-White and Erskine Caldwell publish You Have Seen Their Faces.

Photo History
1937

Edward Weston receives the first Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to a photographer, which he uses to photograph extensively in the West and Southwest from 1937 until 1938.

Photo History
1937

David Seymour photographs Picasso at the World's Fair in front of his anti-war painting Guernica.

Photo History
1937

Beaumont Newhall organizes Photography 1839 - 1937 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Photo History
1937

Lotte Jacobi's first solo exhibition in the United States opens at Directions Gallery in New York.

Photo History