OVER the past one and a half centuries, photography has been used to record all aspects of human life and activity. During this relatively short history, the medium has expanded its capabilities in the recording of time and space, thus allowing human vision to be able to view the fleeting moment or to visualise both the vast and the minuscule. It has brought us images from remote areas of the world, distant parts of the solar system, as well as the social complexities and crises of modern life. Indeed, the photographic medium has provided one of the most important and influential means of expressing the human condition. Nonetheless, the recording of events by means of the visual image has a much longer history. The earliest creations of pictorial recording go as far back as the Upper Palaeolithic period of about 35,000 years ago (some 25,000 years before the development of agriculture). And although we cannot be sure of the exact purposes of the early cave paintings—whether they record the ‘actual’ events of hunting, whether they functioned as sympathetic magic to encourage the increase of animals for hunting, whether they had a role as religious icons, or if they were made simply ‘to enliven and brighten domestic activities’ (Ucko and Rosenfeld, 1967)—pictorial images seem to be inextricably linked to human culture as we understand it.
|Number of pages||256|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|