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Documentary Photography Timeline

A Summer Photography Project.

Rory Montague

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of Documentary Photography Timeline

History of
Documentary Photography
David Octavious Hill creates the first Social Documentary photographs
Arnold Genthe captures the
San Francisco earthquake.
Child labour is documented
in the United States.
The image captures the desolation created by
the disaster, as one of the first of its kind of a
capture of a natural catastrophe, it also shows
the birth of a new kind of documenting these
Lewis W. Hine documented the presence of child labour in the US in 1908 and this image from Lancaster, South Carolina provided proof of the poor conditions the children were working in.
The child's name was Sadie Pfeifer, 48 inches of height and she worked in the Lancaster Cotton mills.
Child labour such as this appeared was a necessity for some of the poorer children as they could often not even a pair of shoes to work in.
It was pictures such as this that started to show America's dark side in the beginning of a new century.
The photographs were proof of the new scientific phenomenon that there was a machine that could allow men to fly.
Although it may seem strange now, many thought this aspect impossible, it was thought that only angels could be the people that could fly.
This would have come as a shock to whoever had questioned science before, it also set in an attitude to all experimentalists world-wide that any thing is possible.
Discovery Of Machu Picchu
- Martin Chambi
The tall city of Machu Picchu was a greatly celebrated
achievement and one of the last great discoveries of
the world.
This is a quite different way to look at the relatively new invention of portable photography as this image represents the new technological age and the age of exploration drawing to a close.
Scott's expedition sights
Amundsen's Tent.
The scramble for the South Pole was planned to be a great British triumph it ended in tragedy.
Not only had they been beaten to the South Pole by the Norwegian competitor; Amundsen, but the whole of Captain Scott's expedition perished. The last records of the alive crew were recorded in their photographs.
The first "Halftone" published in
a newspaper, this was the new way of presenting
photography in newspapers rather than the old
fashioned "engraving" method.
Mexican Revolution
The new century gave birth to new technology and new ideology, democracy was beginning to take its hold on the world and the Mexican revolution was one of the firs to have been documented with photography throughout the war.
The Arrest of Archduke Ferdinand's assassin.
This image is significant due to it's historical value, this event has been regarded as the beginning point of the first world war.
The man being arrested was Gavrilo Princip,
he was part of a secret organisation called
"unification or death"
The development of the first commercial 35mm Leica camera.
Storming the Winter Palace, Petrograd
On October the 25th the beginning of a new power was put in motion. The Bolshevik party organised a military coup to install communist power throughout the Russian empire. By the end Lenin was in power and the beginning of a new age began.
This picture resembles the beginning of the cold war which led to the "Red Scare" and would lead to wars such as the Vietnam war which was hugely significant to the history of photojournalism.
June 28
Although the photograph appears relatively unimpressive. It has Great Historical value as the meeting set in motion many more historical events to be documented.
Treaty of Versailles
Lenin's call to arms.
-G.P. Goldstein.
The image almost illustrates the dark side of Lenin to the world. The context of this image was that Poland has invaded the Ukraine and there was also a civil war between the Reds and Whites. This image shows the rock hard rule of Lenin and his alternate personality than is usually given to him as a saviour of the people.
Opening Tutankhamun's Coffin
A great moment for both Archeology and photojournalism and the photographer
captures Howard Carter's greatest achievement.
The Crash
This photo shows a very distraught crowd
that gathered outside the United States
Sub - treasury building across Wall Street
on the day of the beginning of the great depression.
This photo shows the enforcement of the Prohibition
law in the United States during the 1930's.
Prohibition was supposed to increase productivity and
decrease crime when infact, it created more crime and led
to great mobsters to come to power such as Al Capone.
Invention of Photography
by Louis Daguerre.
The first news broadcast.
First commercial colour films
created by the Lumiere Brothers

Oscar Barnack develops a
camera that uses 35mm film.
Television demonstrated
for the first time.
Rollei markets the
twin lens rolleiflex
Associated Press
wirephoto division

Magnum photo agency
March, California
'Migrant Mother'
This image was taken by Dorothea
Lange on a project set by the FSA.
She took this image to portray the
hardships of the times of the Great
Depression and in particular the
worker labourers who had no choice
but to work for a wage which could not
allow them to afford a decent living
Death of a Spanish militiaman.
An image which has also been
known as "The Falling Soldier",
this image by Robert Capa captured
one of the many deaths that were
created due to the Spanish civil war.
It has been known as a definition for
the war and a historical document for
the ages.
The Hindenburg disaster.
Bombing of Pearl Harbor
Deportation of
the Warsaw Ghetto
Normandy Landings
Dresden Destroyed
Raising the
Liberation of Buchenwald
Gandhi at the Wheel
Edwin Land invents the first Polaroid camera

Portrait of Albert Einstein
Photographer - Yousuf Karsh
Hasselblad make the first medium format SLR camera
available to the public
The Korean War
Ascending Everest
Coronation of Elizabeth
Hungarian Uprising
Deportation of Tibetan Prisoners
Che Guevara
Mauritanian Independence
World War Two
Gagarin, First man in space
Escaping east Berlin
Boy with the Toy
Hand Grenade
Cuban Missile
I have a Dream
First colour instant film sold by Polaroid
JFK Shot
Muhammad Ali Knocks Out Sonny Liston
Execution in Saigon
Student Uprising in Paris
End of the Prague Spring
This picture represents the beginning
of resistance toward the Soviet States.
It represents the beginning of the end
of the cold war as well as representing
an image of combined human resistance.
First Man on the Moon
Considered the finish line for the Space Race
This image is a source of American National
Tragedy at Kent State
Willy Brandt at the Warsaw ghetto memorial
Napalm Attack
Wounded Knee Takeover
Steve Sasson at Kodak, builds the first
working CCD based digital stills camera
Soweto uprising
Strike at the Lenin Shipyards
The Royal Wedding
IBM launches first personal computer
Nuclear Disaster In Cheynobyl
Workers in a Serra Pelada Gold Mine
The Intifada
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Massacre in Beijing
Jeff Widener
Fall of the Berlin Wall
-Andreas Springer
Nelson Mandela's release
from prison
The Gulf War
- Michael Lipchitz
The Tutsi Genocide
Greenpeace confront
Shell Oil
David Sims
James Nachtwey
Greg English
Scott Sady
Zapatista uprising in Chiapas
Attack on the World Trade Centre
Genocide in Darfur
Tsunami in the indian Ocean
- John Russell
Hurricane Katrina
- David J Phillip
Royal Wedding
Egyptian Revolution
Narciso Contreras
Syrian Conflict

First compact discs marketed

Apple launches
Canon EOS system
introduced with its new
electronic lens mount
Adobe Photoshop released

Kodak introduced
the photo CD
Polaroid goes bankrupt
and begins to signify the
change form film to
the digital age.
Kodak ceases
the production
of film cameras.
The ongoing conflict which is causing worldwide
controversy. It has not only put strains on diplomatic
negotiations, but also on the media as many photojournalists have had near death experiences.
One of the
most widely
events on the
history of
A sign of a wave of democracy that swept
across North Africa.
A shocking view at how even
the most wealthy countries
are susceptible to natural
An event which would lead to war
and many more lives to be lost.
A protest movement which had
worldwide support.
A chilling reminder to all that
the deathly side to human nature
can return.
A controversial war that many thought
was America's campaign for Oil
A proud moment for
the German people.
An event which would gain China
the reputation to be a hardball
An event representing the peoples
growing resistance to the Soviet
The members of the American
Indian Movement who took
eleven whites hostage in protest.
A photograph taken towards the end of the
war. This shows the raw brutality involved in
the Vietnam war and its effect on the local
It raised many questions on the moral justification
of American intervention globally.
The beginning of America's period
of military based foreign intervention.
This period of history gained America
the reputation of being a tyrant that
would get itself involved in foreign matters
that it did not need to be involved in.
An event signifying the peoples
courage to defy the ruthless
Tibet's darkest hour as the Chinese
crush the Tibetan uprising.
The portrait of a great man who
represented the people and lead
them to revolution.
Throughout history Che has been
glorified as a freedom fighter and
liberator of foreign influence and

He would be dead seven years
after this image was taken.
A representation
of Russia's determination
to win the Space Race.
A sign that many people wanted to leave communist
An event which shocked the world
and proved zeppelins to be a dangerous
method to travel with.
The event that pushed the USA
into involvement in the second
world war.
A national treasure for the Americans,
an example of brotherhood and
A revealing picture by Margaret Bourke-White which
showed the world the appalling conditions that the Jewish
prisoners were put through.
Images such as this were used to prove that the allied forces were representing mankind to fight against the evil Nazi's.
An event which brought the war to a close,
but at a cost which would damage the human
spirit forever. The worst example of mans
inhumanity to man.
The image of an undisputed genius
of the 20th century.
A step in the cold war which would shock America's
population and bring fear of Nuclear fallout for the years
to come.
It would set in motion events such as the bay of pigs disaster and the naval blockade of Cuba.
An image of a man which served humanity and changed the course of history forever. A man who's life was taken away from his dream and wouldn't live to see it in practice. A sacrifice which was needed for the equality that is apparent in modern society.
An image of the star of boxing and a role model for all
aspiring sport stars.
An image that would only fuel the media war of
Vietnam. A shot that would damage America's
choice of foreign policy forever.
It was images like this that led to a rise in intenisty
of the protest movement and lead to celebrity's to
take sides such as Walter Cronkite and Bob Dylan.
Tensions on the homefront broke out in some
tragic deaths of students. An event that would never
be forgotten.
An event that would damage the nuclear industry forever.
The Cold War
World War One
The Great Depression
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