Eadweard Muybridge


When a horse is running or trotting, do all four hooves ever leave the ground at the same time?

California Governor Leland Stanford offered landscape photographer Eadweard Muybridge $25,000 in 1872 to answer this question. Muybridge invented a fast shutter mechanism that relied on a small piece of wood with a hole drilled into it that slid past the lens. The wood was positioned such that a pin held it in place covering the lens. When the pin was removed, gravity would cause the wood to drop and as the hole moved past the lens, the film was exposed for a fraction of a second. He then used two pieces of wood and slipped them past each other so quickly that he had achieved an exposure time of about 1/500th of a second. Over time he would get it down to an exposure time to less than 1/2000th of a second. In 1878, he finally achieved his results with a sequence of 12 images that clearly showed that all four of the horse’s hooves were off the ground at the same time. Later on he would invent a device with counter-rotating discs that projected the images sequentially called a Zoöpraxiscope.


Matthew Brady

Mathew B. Brady (May 18, 1822 – January 15, 1896) was one of the first American photographers. He studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, among other celebrities. When the Civil War started, his use of a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs that brought home the reality of war to the public.  The thousands of photographs which Mathew Brady’s photographers (such as Alexander Gardner and Timothy O’Sullivan) took have become the most important visual documentation of the Civil War, and have helped historians and the public better understand the era – wikipedia

I’ve always loved looking at some of these old portraits of historic figures of the past. In the early days of photography, Matthew Brady had a simple “shutter”. When they were ready to expose the film, they simply removed the lens cap by hand and then put it back on after a predetermined length of time. Since the photographic plates used in those days were not very sensitive, exposures of five or ten minutes were common. – NYIP

photos by Matthew Brady

Moon Shot


Buzz Aldrin on the moon (photo by Neil Armstrong)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. This was one of my favorite photographs when I was growing up. I think what drew me to it was the clarity and detail of it. You can see the footprints in the background. Cameras have come a long way since then, but it’s still amazing to me to see that we were able to take such great photos back then.

Medium format camera are larger than 35mm cameras and use paper-backed or paper-leadered roll film. The most popular medium-format cameras produce negatives that are 2 1/4 X 2 1/4 inches, 6 X 7 cm, and 6 X 4.5 cm. The large negatives make stunningly sharp enlargements, full of detail. The 2 1/4 inch single-lens reflex (SLR) camera has a viewing system similar to the 35mm SLR reflex camera. As the name implies, these larger SLRs produce negatives that are 2 1/4 inches square. The Hasselblad was the the camera used by America’s astronauts when they visited the moon. 

The Hasselblad wasn’t the first camera to reach the moon; that honor goes to the one Neil Armstrong took one with him on the 1969 mission. But it’s the only one to ever make it back. The rest were left behind due to their bulk and weight; the one below, which was used on the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, was lucky enough to make the return journey.



First Photographs


This is the first photo ever produced of a person (lower left) by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839 on a daguerreotype – a silver-plated sheet of copper. He did this with a wood box with a lens on one end that produces an image onto a frosted sheet of glass on the other end. He revealed this process and some of his images publicly on August 19, 1839 (my Birthday!). Most of his photos were of still-life subjects, but this long exposure photo captured a person near a road in Paris. It appears he is getting his shoe shined. Below is the first ever photograph produced that is in existence today. It was made by Nicéphore Niépce in 1827 and is called Point de vue du Gras (View from the Window at Le Gras).

Point de vue du Gras

Point de vue du Gras



Close up of the original plate

Michael Doven

I like to showcase different photographers I learn about. Michael Doven is a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography and his photos are used in some of the lessons that are provided. He is currently a world renowned photographer and his work includes many films in Hollywood. Here are a couple videos showcasing his work.

New York Institute of Photography



* – from NYIP

 Three Basic Guidelines for Great Photographs

1. A good photograph has a clear subject

Every photograph is about someone or something. It may even tell a story about the subject. Whoever looks at the photo immediately sees this subject. It is clear and unambiguous. We sometimes call the subject a theme.

2. A good photograph focuses attention on the subject

The viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to the subject.

3. A good photograph simplifies

The photograph includes only those elements that draw the eye to the subject, and it excludes or diminishes those elements that might draw the eye away from the subject.

The Democratic Forest

William Eggleston is an American photographer. He is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium to display in art galleries. For my latest project, I needed to approach a space, study and analyze it and create a series of photographs that depict subject matter found in that space. Our inspiration is Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest – a book that he put together of a sequence of images that form an autobiographic narrative. I decided to do this project at 8th Day Coffee & Culture – a coffee shop in downtown Phoenix that I spend a lot of time at. You can read my most recent full post of 8th Day Coffee here.