A history of photography

A history of photography
From 01.01.18
To 31.12.19

Get an insight into the rich history of photography! The exhibition gives an acquaintance with the pre-photographic technologies where the idea of an image was created, then moves to the enormous breadth of experimentation and research that has led all the way to current digital images.

The collection Leif Preus amassed and which the Preus museum has even more fully developed is of very high quality by international standards. It shows how the development of photographic processes and technologies has shaped how we can take pictures, what we take pictures of, and how the photograph has formed our conception of the world we live in. You'll make acquaintance with the striking processes and technologies across the history of photography that have led it from a toilsome and complicated procedure to contemporary digital images that have made everyone photographers.

The exhibition is shown in Sverre Fehn's specially designed interior and contains a separate children's area where our camera obscura is located. Here one can experience the foundational principle of all photography and feel the fascination that has led to its birth and development.

Inside our camera obscura, the landscape outside is projected upside-down on the wall 


The technological development

The history of photography is relatively brief but richly complex, with many paradigm shifts.

Economics is closely linked not only with the development of photographic processes and technology, but also with the esthetic unfolding of photography.  There has been a struggle to generate ideas that make photography more inexpensive and more exact, and to give it the most extensive possible distribution. The competition between various technologies and processes that began with the invention of photography in 1839 has resulted in the profusion of easily accessible images we surround ourselves with today.

Camera obscura as a drawing device, ca 1835. Preus Museum's collection.

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"Camera" means "room"; and "obscura" means "dark." In one wall of the room there is a small hole. When light enters the hole, whatever is outside the room is projected as an upside-down mirror image on the opposite wall. This is a box that allows light to enter through an objective (lens).

The top of the box consists of a matte glass plate, and on the inside is a mirror that sends the image made by the lens up onto the matte screen. Here one can lay a sheet of transparent drawing paper  and make a true-to-life sketch. This is a forerunner of the photographic camera that uses light-sensitive film instead of drawing paper. Artists used camera obscura as an aid in drawing true-to-life sketches before photography was discovered.


The esthetic development

Photography has not been able to rest all its weight on the history of other tendencies in the arts. Photography has attempted to discover its own esthetic language, formed by the camera's limitations and released by photography's technological development: from the first formal and stylized photographs, via Kodak's revolution and its democratic experimentation, forward to present-day pictures that can be said to mirror the entire esthetic development.


Polaroid SX-70, 1972. Tilhører Preus museums samling.

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Første sammenleggbare SLR. Kameraet har et filmformat på 9 x 11,5 cm og negativstørrelse 8 x 8 cm. Med optikk: 116 mm. Polaroid SX-70 revolusjonerte direktebildefotograferingen. Kameraet er et avansert speilreflekskamera som kan foldes sammen til en flat liten pakke. Designet var spesielt og filmen var den første med en ny type bildeframstilling. Det var det første systemet som produserte et ett-trinns direktefotografi.

Filmene lå enkeltvis i en kassett. Hvert bilde var en forseglet pakke som inneholdt negativ, kjemikalier og positiv. Bildet kom automatisk ut av kameraet og kunne sees i løpet av 2 minutter, men trengte noen minutter til før det fikk sitt endelige uttrykk. I filmkassetten var også batteriet som ga strøm til kameraet og blitsen. Kameraet er også kjent som ""Deluxe"


How does photography  see the world? How does the world see photography?

As technological development made photographic processes simpler, the uses of photography broadened. The entry of photography into nearly every aspect of life has not happened without friction and discussion. From Rodchenko's Soviet propaganda of the 1930s to today's bodily ideal the theoretical distance is not especially long. Since the infancy of photography many motifs and approaches to challenges have haunted its ostensibly clear and objective rendering of reality.


What will I be seeing?

You'll see an account of the technological history of photography, from early optical drawing devices to current digital photography.  A separate children's area opens up the chance to play with optical principles, shadows, light and mirrors, along with the aforementioned camera obscura.