Sight of Grace
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Art and Humanity

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Art and Humanity

Ladies and gentlemen for your artistic enjoyment, below is a poem written by Beth Forristell, which is based on the photograph taken by Sebastião Salgado.

Salgado's Eye      

In this picture I see an uncertain grace.
I see pain and despair, sadness and sorrow.
Emotions are captured on this woman's face.
Will she be able to free them tomorrow?

The beauty of a picture, a memory,
A moment in time that passes so sweetly.
Her surroundings appear to be heavenly.
The artist catches the moment completely.

What makes this photo so powerful yet weak?
Is it her pain, her helplessness or her grief?
Let the image call you, listen to it speak.
And then you will feel it, that is my belief.

So what does it say to you, what does it cry?
And what do you see through Saldado's eye?              


When I was looking through the book An Uncertain Grace by Sebastião Salgado, I came across the above photo and I stared at it for awhile.  I found this picture very striking and interesting.  For some reason this image caught my attention.  Perhaps it is because of the woman lying beneath the statue or maybe it was the way the sun shone through the curtains.  I think the main reason it attracted me was that you don't really know or understand what exactly is going on in the photograph.  Then I thought to myself that maybe the reason why Salgado did not place the captions beneath the photographs is because he wanted the audience to think for themselves.  I this way the artist is forcing us to come up with our own explanation for what is going on in the pictures.  For these reasons I believe that Salgado is an excellent photographer and his art has affected me in numerous ways.       

Art is an expression of human emotions, an expression of yourself, whether it be in writing, dancing, drawing, composing, sculpting, acting...etc.  As you can see there are many different types of art.  I think art is something that people generally enjoy.  Some people like myself enjoy art because it is an escape from reality, or maybe it is just enjoying reality.  Personally I like dancing.  It is a way for me to express myself through motions because sometimes certain feelings can not be expressed through words. 

"Venus of Willendorf"

Art has been an important part of every culture around the world from prehistoric times until present.  Actually, the first known piece of art is believed to be a creation by the primitive people.  It is a limestone sculpture that is eleven centimeters tall.  This sculpture was found in Willendorf, Austria by Josef Szombathy in 1908 and was given the name "Venus of Willendorf."  It acquired this name because many female figurines that were made during the Paleolithic period are called Venuses and it was also named after the place it was found.  This statuette is believed to be from around 25,000 B.C.  Researchers conclude that it is a fertility symbol that was carried by the male while out hunting to remind him of his mate back at home.  For anyone who is interested in the first known piece of art I acquired my information from  

Art has developed over many centuries and has always been accepted as a sign of intelligence.  Some art is even from the fabulous world of science, like photography, the cultured career chosen by the talented Sebastião Salgado.  the term "photography" originated from the Greek words for light and writing.  In 1839 John Herschel became the main man responsible for making the term popular throughout the world the year the photographic process became public. 

Now why don't you take a moment and read a little about the history of photography.  The art that was chosen by the great Sabastião Salgado.  These little bits of information may come in handy some day.  Plus you will walk away from your computer knowing that you learned a little more than you expected when you visited our website.

Photography mainly consists of two scientific processes: optical and chemical.  The Camera Obscura (dark room) is the optical part.  Scientists have known for a long time that when light rays shine through a small whole into a black room it projects an inverted image on the opposite wall.  this is mainly what the camera does today.  The chemical part is the way that certain compounds change or grow darker due to exposure to light.  In the early 1800's Thomas Wedgewood was the first man to capture an image, but he had not figured out how to make the picture permanent.  

The first official photograph was taken by the Frenchman Nicephore Niépce in the summer of 1827.  This evidently was a major moment in what would later be known as the art of photography.  Niépce's photo had to be exposed for a total of eight hours, therefore in the picture is looks as if the sun is coming from both sides of the sky.

photo by Nicephore Niépce

Before Niépce's death he began a partnership with Louis Daguerre who kept the business going far after his partner had passed.  Daguerre soon made a discovery that reduced exposure time down to a half-hour, and in 1839 he called this the Daquerrotype process.  Unfortunately this process was very expensive and not easy to accomplish since the images were processed on metal.  

The concept of photography quickly spread around the globe. However a great number of people thought that photography was the work of the devil. Most painters saw photography as a threat to the art of painting and felt their careers were in danger.

Also in 1839 another type of photography was created by William Henry Fox Talbot which was called the Calotype process. This process was able to produce copies by using the first negatives. Today's photography is primarily based on the Calotype process.

New technologies in photography continued to increase. In 1851 Frederick Scott Archer introduced the Collidian process. This process reduced the exposure time down to two or three seconds. It was even less expensive than the other two processes at that time.

In 1871 Dr. Richard Maddox found a way to use gelatin as a basis of the photographic plate, which then led to the dry-plate method of photography. This became a major turning point in photography.

Finally in 1884 a man named George Eastman developed flexible film. Then four years later that same man created the first ever box camera. Now photography was spread to a much wider audience.

Most of the above information on the history of photography was selected from At this site you will be able to find a more detailed history of the art of photography.