Art Photography Glossary
Explanation of Terms Used in Camera Art.
MAIN A-Z INDEX

Pin it


Art Photography Glossary of Terms

Contents

Introduction
Glossary of Terms


Self Portrait Suspended (2004)
By Young British Artist Sam Taylor-Wood.


An African-American convict is strapped
into "Old Sparky," Sing-Sing Prison's
electric chair (1900). Photograph by
William M. Van der Weyde.

Introduction

Photography is one of the newest types of art, which has only come of age as an independent form since the 1960s. Today, however, camera artists are regularly represented in contemporary art competitions, such as the Turner Prize (won by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans in 2000), and in many of the best art museums around the world. Photography is a broad field, encompassing many different styles, including: architectural, landscape, street-photography, portraiture, still lifes and staged photography, to name but a few. In addition, photojournalists continue to produce exceptionally artistic images. Meantime, art collectors are willing to pay well over $1 million for outstanding photographs - the current record is $4,338,500 for Rhein II (1999) by Andreas Gursky, one of the great postmodernist artists of the Dusseldorf School. For other top camera artists, see: Greatest Photographers (c.1880-present).

Glossary of Terms

Here is a short list of the more common terms used in the art of photography, including technical, historical and stylistic terminology.

35mm
Introduced originally for motion picture use, 35mm film's format, frame and sprockets were standardized in 1909. It was adopted for still picture use and became the most popular film format producing a standard negative or transparency of 24 x 36 mm. The format and size has been retained in 'full frame' digital cameras.

albumen print
The use of albumen derived from egg whites was first used in 1848 for dry plates, before being superseded by the wet-collodion process from 1851. Albumen had far greater success for coating on to paper where it provided a smooth surface for the photographic emulsion. This was described by Louis Desire Blanquart-Evrard in 1850 and albumen paper remained popular until the 1890s.

aperture
The opening through which light passes to expose sensitized material or a sensor. It is usually located behind or within a lens mount, originally as removable 'stops' and later as an iris diaphragm. The size of the aperture is defined in f-numbers.

aperture priority
A metering system in the camera that allows the photographer to choose the aperture while the camera selects the shutter speed.

art
See: "Fine Art" and also "Visual Art". For a chronological guide, see: History of Art (2.5 million BCE-present).

aspect ratio
The ratio of an image's height to its width.

Autochrome
Patented in 1904 by Auguste and Louis Lumiere and manufactured from 1907, the Autochrome process was the first practical system of colour photography using dyed starch grains and a panchromatic emulsion to produce colourtransparencies with a distinctive colour palette. Production ceased in the 1930s.

autofocus
A facility in which a camera or camcorder automatically finds the best possible focus for the image.

backlighting
Describes lighting from a source behind the subject. It is usually used in conjunction with other lights, but by itself it can separate the subject from a dark background or create a halo effect around it.

Barn Doors
Attachment that fits on the front of a studio light and allows the photographer to control the spread of light.

Bitmap/Bmp
An image format popular in the early days of PCs, but still used as the native format by the Windows operating system.

blur filters
There are seven blur filters in Photoshop: Blur, Blur More, Lens Blur, Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur, Radial Blur and Smart Blur. All work by merging the colours of adjoining pixels together to give the visual impression of unsharpness.

bracketing
Method of exposing one or more exposures on either side of the predicted exposure to obtain the best result.

cable release
Cable which allows the shutter to be fired with minimum vibration or camera shake; essential for long exposures.

calotype
A photographic process patented by William Henry Fox Talbot in England and Wales on 8 February 1841, also known as Talbotype.The process was a significant enhancement of Talbot's photogenic drawing process and used silver iodide combined with gallic acid to enhance its sensitivity. After exposure the paper was developed to produce a negative and then chemically fixed to make it permanent. The calotype was the first negative/positive process and it provided the basis of modern photography. See: Art of Printmaking.

camera angle
Describes the position of the camera relative to the subject. Where the camera is placed and the type of lens being used will determine howthe viewer perceives the subject.

camera lucida
An optical device used by artists that employs a prism to superimpose a virtual scene or subject image onto a drawing board so that an outline can be traced on to paper. It was invented by William Hyde Wollaston in 1807.

camera obscura
An optical device that came into use during the Renaissance. It consists of a box or a darkened room with an opening on one side projecting an image on to the facing side. It was used by Old Masters as a drawing aid because it preserved perspective. By the 18th century the use of lenses and a mirror set at 45 degrees made for smaller, portable camera obscurae.

candid photographs
Unposed images often taken without the knowledge of the subject. They were made possible by small hand cameras; the first was reputedly taken in 1892. The term was first used in 1930 by the Weekly Graphic.

carbon print
A number of carbon processes were described before Sir Joseph Swan patented a process in 1864. Swan's was introduced the following year and found commercial success by providing the photographer with ready-made materials. His patents were bought out by the Autotype Company. The process produced a print using carbon, which made it permanent and not susceptible to fading. Carbon prints typically have a matt finish from black, grey to sepia and other tones.

CCD
This is an image sensor; CCD stands for 'charge-coupled device'.

chromogenic print
A print made by the chromogenic development process and also known as a dye-coupler print. The process was developed in the mid 1930s and is the basis of the majority of modern colour silver-based photographic materials, such as Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Kodacolor and Agfacolor producing both negatives and direct positives. The prints are often incorrectly referred to as C-[Type] prints, which refers, precisely, to a negative-positive chromogenic paper called Kodak Color Print Material Type C available from 1955 to 1959.

chronophotography
A method of analysing movement by taking a series of still pictures at regular intervals. It was pioneered separately by Etienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge among others from the early 1870s. In 1877 Muybridge was able to confirm by chronophotography Marey's assertion that a horse lifted all four hooves off the ground at once when trotting.

Clone brush
This is a tool used by graphics programs to retouch images.

close-up lens
A supplementary lens fitted to a camera lens that changes the focal length. For close-up work, a positive lens effectively shortens the focal length so that with a given lens-to-subject distance the near focusing limit is reduced.

CMYK image mode
Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (called K to prevent confusion with Blue) is an image mode used for litho reproduction. All magazines are printed with CMYK inks.

collodion process
A dry - or more commonly - a wet process using collodion as a medium to support a light sensitive emulsion. The wet-collodion process was described by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851 and, after refinement, was used by numerous 19th-century photographers from c.1854 onwards. It remained dominant until the mid 1870s. Collodion was also used to produce direct positives on glass (ambrotypes) and tin (tintypes).

collotype
A screenless printing process invented by Alphonse Poitevin in 1856 and commercially popular from the 1870s to 1920s.

colour depth
The number of colours in an image factor. This governs the quality of your images.

colour temperature
A scale for measuring the quality of light in values of kelvin.

combination printing
A technique using two or more photographic negatives or prints to make a single image. It was suggested by Hippolyte Bayard in 1852 for improving the appearance of skies. It was first shown by William Lake Price in 1855. 0.G. Rejlander's Two Ways of Life of 1857 and Henry Peach Robinson's Fading Away of 1858 are the best-known examples. The technique was revived in the 1920s and 1930s often to produce surreal work. Digital techniques have made it obsolete.

CompactFlash
A popular sort of memory card used in some digital cameras.

compound lens
A lens combining two or more individual elements, usually cemented together.

contact sheet
Method for printing negatives the same size as the film so that the photographer can choose the images to be enlarged.

contemporary art
Embraces late 20th century contemporary art movements in painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as new media such as installation art, (including sound), conceptualism and video art.

copper plate
A printing plate used by any method of intaglio printing, etched or engraved to take ink for transferring on to paper. Although the term copper plate is widely used, plates are commonly made from copper or zinc.

cropping
Altering the boundaries of a photograph, negative or digital image to improve the composition, remove unwanted elements, or to fit a method of display.

cyan
Blue-green light; the complementary colour to red.

cyanotype
A process invented by Sir John Herschel and reported in 1842. The prints are also known as blue-prints. The process is simple and produces a characteristic blue image on paper or cloth. It was popular in the 1840s and the 1880s. Its main use has been for the reproduction of architectural or technical drawings.

daguerreotype
Announced on 7 January 1839 and presented to the world in August 1839 (except in England and Wales where it was patented), the daguerreotype produced a unique image on a silver-coated copper plate. The process was popular until the mid 1850s, although for longer in the United States, until it was superseded by the more sensitive wet-collodion process. For more details, see: History of Photography (1800-1900).

darkroom
A space in which there is total darkness or limited illumination by red or orange safelights so that light-sensitive materials such as film or paper can be handled, processed or printed without being affected by unwanted light.

depth of field
The distance in front of the point of focus and the distance beyond that is acceptably sharp. Manipulation of this zone by extending or reducing it can be an important aspect of creative control and view cameras have evolved to facilitate this.

digital print
In photography this refers to a photograph produced from either a conventional negative or a digital file by a digital printer. This includes various fine art digital printing techniques, Inkjet and laser printing. See also: Computer Art.

digital zoom
A way of magnifying an image using software techniques. Instead of pulling your subject closer, a small patch of pixels is enlarged or interpolated to make a detail look bigger than it really is.

dithering
A method of simulating complex colours or tones of grey using few colour ingredients. Close together, dots of ink can give the illusion of a new colour.

documentary photography
A photographic depiction of the real world intended to show the subject in a literal and objective way. Early examples include the work of Maxime du Camp in recording the Near East, Roger Fenton in the Crimea; Mathew Brady in the American Civil War, and the Parisian Eugene Atget (1857-1927) in Paris. An important sub-genre is social documentary photography, which records the human condition within a wider context. Examples range from Thomas Annan in 1860s Glasgow, to Jacob Riis in 1890s America and the Farm Security Administration photographers of the 1930s, like Walker Evans (1903-75).

double-exposure
The recording of two superimposed images on the same piece of photo-sensitive material. This may be through error or as part of the creative process.

dpi
Dots per inch - it is a measure of the quality of a printed image.

dry plate negative
Although produced from the late 1850s, they were more successfully introduced from the early 1870s and quickly supplanted wet-collodion plates. Dry plates matched and surpassed the sensitivity of wet-plates and were more convenient to use.

Dusseldorf School
A group of students who studied at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in the mid 1970s under the influential photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, producing clear, objective, black-and-white images of industrial structures and architecture. Among the best-known students at this innovative centre of postmodernist art are Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky (b.1955).

DX code
Bar code on a 35 mm cassette that contains information such as film speed. This is read inside the camera which adjusts itself automatically.

dye transfer print
This is a subtractive process for making colour prints from colour positives or negatives. There were processes from 1875 but Eastman Kodak's wash-off relief process of 1935, which was improved and reintroduced in 1946 as the dye transfer process, was the most successful. Although complex it produced attractive permanent prints with strong colours. See also: Colour in Painting.

dynamic range
A measure of how a sensor records the bright and dark areas in a digital photographic image.

Emulsion
A light sensitive colloid usually of silver halide grains in a thin gelatin layer, and coated on to glass, film or paper base.

exposure
The amount of light that is allowed to reach the image sensor which is controlled by the shutter speed and aperture setting.

exposure meter
Instrument for measuring the amount of light available that can be read to indicate shutter speed and aperture.

extension bellows
Extendable device that fits between the lens and the camera body that enables the photographer to take close-up shot with a variable degree of magnification.

extension tubes
Tubular device that fits between the lens and the camera body to enable the photographer to take close-up pictures. The degree of close-up available varies with the length of the tube used.

fashion photography
clothes, make-up and hairstyle imagery, exemplified by the creative work of American fashion photographers like Irving Penn (1917-2009) and Richard Avedon (1923-2004).

feminist photography
as exemplified by the gritty work of Nan Goldin (b.1953).

field camera
Usually refers to a large-format camera that can be folded to reduce its size making it easier to transport.

filter
An optical coloured or neutral glass or plastic usually mounted in front of the camera lens. Most remove or reduce particular parts of the light spectrum; others such as neutral density or polarizing filters affect light absorption in other ways.

fine art photography
Photographs that are made by a photographer as art work and usually intended to be offered for sale. For more explanation, see: Is Photography Art? and also What is the Meaning of Art?

fixed focus
Camera that has no means of altering the focus of the lens; usually only found on the cheapest cameras.

focal plane shutter
Shutter method that exposes the film to light by using a moving blind in the camera body.

focus
The adjustment of the lens to make a subject or scene appear crisp in an image.

format conversion
A method of changing the manner in which a digital photo image is stored.

frame
A term that has a number of meanings within photography. It can refer to a single image within a series on a length of film or a single digital image; a border made from one of a number of materials to enclose and protect a photograph; or the boundaries of a subject seen through a camera viewfinder.

gamut
A description of the extent of a colour palette used for the creation, display or output of a digital image.

giclee prints
The best type of fine art prints, used by artists and photographers to make high quality reproductions of two-dimensional paintings, photographs, or other computer generated graphics.

GIF
An image format popular with website developers. It stands for 'Graphics Interchange File'.

Hot Shoe
Electrical contact usually found on the top of 35 mm SLR cameras; forms part of the camera's flash synchronization.

humanist photography
A photographic approach that places the human subject within his or her everyday life. It uses photography's descriptive power and emotional immediacy to inform the viewer. It was particularly popular among French photographers between the 1930s and 1960s, although it arguably informs many styles of photography.

ICC
The International colour Consortium was founded by the major manufacturers in order to develop colour standards and cross-platform systems.

incident light reading
Method of taking an exposure meter reading by recording the amount of light falling on the subject.

ink-jet print
A print made up from tiny droplets of ink being expelled on to paper using electromagnetic fields to guide charged ink streams. The technology was developed commercially from the 1950s and for digital photographic printing from the 1970s.

interpolation
A process to improve the optical resolution of a digital image using software.

ISO speed
A number that specifies the speed of a silver-based film. Photographic film and digital sensors are graded by their sensitivity to light. This is sometimes called film speed or ISO speed.

JPEG or JPG
The most commonly used computer image format used to store photographs.

Kodachrome
A colour transparency film invented in 1933 by Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr and introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935 in 35mm, sheet and motion picture film formats. For many photographers it was the standard by which all other films were judged. Manufacture ceased in 2009.

landscape photography
pioneered by Ansel Adams (1902-84); digitally updated by Andreas Gursky (b.1955).

light box
An illuminated box used for viewing transparencies or negatives.

light temperature
This is a measure used by photographers to describe an image's colour bias.

low Sharpening
A digital camera setting used to change the sharpness of an object's outline.

macro lens
Lens that enables the photographer to take close-up pictures without the need for extension tubes or bellows.

macro mode
A digital camera setting for taking close-up photographs.

mammoth plate
An outsize plate format approximately 18 x 21 inches and used by some 19th-century outdoor photographers, notably Carleton E. Watkins and William Henry Jackson working in the American West. Some contemporary photographers continue to use very large formats.

memory card
A small removable data storage card used by most digital cameras.

monochromatic
An image presented in black and white; also known as greyscale.

montage
Picture made up of a collection of other images.

nude studies
a genre of photographic art mastered by the extraordinary German-born artist Helmut Newton (1920-2004), and the American Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-89), among others.

optical zoom
True image magnification achieved by repositioning the lenses.

over exposure
The exposure of light sensitive material with too much light. With negative film this has the effect of increasing shadow contrast and the total density range. They require longer printing times and appear grainier.

PaintShop Pro
A graphics and photo editor, developed by Jasc Software, later bought out by Corel Corporation. Program functionality can be extended by using Photoshop-compatible plugins. See also: Fine Art Painting.

palette
An array of colours or tools used in graphics programs. See also: Graphic Art.

panning
Method of moving the camera in line with a moving subject such as a racing car. This produces a blurred background but keeps the subject sharp, thereby giving a greater effect of movement in the final image.

pantone
The Pantone colour library is an internationally established system for describing colour with pin-number-like codes. Used in the lithographic printing industry for mixing colour by the weights of ink.

parallax
The difference between what the camera viewfinder sees and what the lens sees. This difference is eliminated in SLR cameras.

perspective control lens
Lens that can be adjusted at right angles to its axis. This enables the photographer to alter the field of view without moving the camera. Also known as a shift lens. See also: Linear Perspective in art.

photobook
Traditionally referred to as photographically illustrated books and then illustrated books, the term photobook has become popular since the 1980s to refer to a book in which the photographs make a significant contribution to the content. Important examples include The Decisive Moment (1952) by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) and Martin Parr's The Last Resort (1986). The term is also a commercial one applied to single or very short run digitally printed books.

photogram
An image produced without a camera or lens by placing an opaque, translucent or transparent object between, often directly on, a piece of photographic paper or film and a light source. These were among the earliest photographic images from Thomas Wedgwood and Humphry Davy, and William Henry Fox Talbot, who called them photogenic drawings. Photograms had renewed popularity as a creative technique in the 1920s with Man Ray (1890-1976)who called them Rayographs.

photographic gallery
A venue (museum or gallery) for the display of photographic prints. For a list of the top display venues for lens-based art, see: Best Galleries of Contemporary Art.

photogravure
A photomechanical intaglio ink printing process capable of rapid, high-quality reproduction of photographs preserving detail and tone on paper.

photojournalism
The term was coined in 1924 to designate a sequence of photographs that emphasized photographic reportage, requiringthe skills of both photographer and journalist. This distinguishes it from press or news photography. It thrived with the rise of illustrated news magazines, such as Picture Post and Life from the 1920s to 1960s, and is now best seen in newspaper colour supplements. The genre was exemplified by the war photographer Robert Capa (Endre Erno Eriedmann) (1913-54).

photomontage
An image created by assembling several different images, sometimes in other media, by cutting and pasting, projection or digital techniques. The three earliest pioneers of photomontage were the Berlin Dadaists Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971), Hannah Hoch (1889-1978) and John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfeld) (1891-1968).

Photo-Secession
Progressive group of American camera artists, founded in 1902 by Alfred Steiglitz (1864-1946). It focused firmly on the aesthetics and craftsmanship of photography.

Photoshop
A graphics and photo editing program created by Adobe Systems.

Pictorialism
A term that emerged during the era of Victorian art around the late 19th century, to define an artistic approach to photography. Pictorialism - whose greatest exponents included Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) and Edward Steichen (1879-1973) - was part of a larger debate around art and photography that had preoccupied photographers since the 1850s and it was, in part, a reaction against the ease of taking photographs from the mid 1880s. In the 1920s Pictorialism gave way to realism and objectivity in photography, although it never quite disappeared and interest in it continues today.

Pictrography
A type of high-resolution digital print made by Fuji, that images directly onto special donor paper without the need for processing chemistry.

pixels
The individual elements that go to make up a digital image - short for 'picture element'.

polarizing filter
Filter that enables the photographer to darken blue skies and cut out unwanted reflections.

Polaroid
The Polaroid Corporation was founded by Edwin Land in 1937 to produce polarizing glasses for three-dimensional applications. In 1948 Land launched the Polaroid Model 95 camera, which offered almost instant photography. In 1963 instant colour film was introduced and in 1972 the iconic Polaroid SX70 camera was introduced, which gave true instant photographs that developed without the need for peeling or the subsequent coating of the photograph. The 1978 launch of Polavision instant movies system failed as video proved more attractive to consumers. In 2001 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as digital photography eroded its traditional markets.

Post-processing
A term that refers to the work traditionally done on a negative or print after the normal process has been completed. With the digital era the term is more usually associated with adjustments made to the raw image file using software such as Photoshop.

Propaganda Photography
Exemplified and pioneered by Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003), whose contributions to Nazi art included the propagandist masterpieces "Triumph of the Will" (1934) and "Olympia" (1936).

rangefinder camera
System that allows sharp focusing on a subject by aligning two images in the camera viewfinder.

red eye
Red eyes in images caused by the response of the human eye to electronic flashes.

Resin-coated (RC) paper
A paper that has been sealed on both sides with a pigmented polyethylene resin and has the light sensitive emulsion coated on to one side. RC paper does not absorb water or chemicals making it quick to process and dry. It was widely introduced from 1968. With traditional fibre-based papers the emulsion is absorbed into the paper, which gives more depth to the image. It is considered more archivally stable than RC paper. Fibre papers are generally preferred by lens-based artists.

retouching
With film and paper this referred to work done with a brush or knife to the emulsion of a negative or print to remove parts or add to it. The advent of digital working has added these and other tools via software of which Photoshop is the best known. Photoshop has become a verb in its own right.

RGB image mode
The red, green and blue mode is used for digital colour images. Each separate colour has its own channel of 256 steps and pixel colour is derived from a mixture of these three ingredients.

roll film
A length of light sensitive film rolled on a spool usually with a backing paper and able to be loaded into a camera in daylight. Cellulose nitrate roll film was commercially introduced in 1889, daylight loading film cartridges in 1891 and paperbacked film, which remains in production today, in 1892. A large number of roll film formats and lengths have appeared since 1889 with the most common being 120, 620 and 127 sizes. The safer film base cellulose acetate was increasingly used from 1934; in the late 1940s, cellulose triacetate was introduced, and in the 1980s polyester bases became the norm.

salted paper print
The earliest form of silver halide printing paper developed by William Henry Fox Talbot around 1834. Talbot used paper soaked in salt; this was dried and then brushed with silver nitrate before being exposed and subsequently fixed with a concentrated salt solution or, later, sodium thiosulphate ('hypo').

saturation
A setting on a digital camera or in image editing software that adjusts the intensity of colour relative to its own brightness. A desaturated image will appear with grey tones.

shift lens
Alternative name for perspective control lens.

shutter
Means of controlling the amount of time light is allowed to pass through the lens onto the film.

shutter speed
The speed at which the shutter opens and closes.

silver print
Also known as gelatin silver print, this refers to photographs mainly produced since the early 1870s using gelatin as a colloid. More recently the term has been applied within the photographic art market to differentiate photographs produced using traditional silver-based techniques from digital printing.

SLR
Single lens reflex; type of camera that allows the photographer to view the subject through the actual lens, via a mirror that moves out of the way when the picture is taken.

solarization
A photographic effect achieved in the darkroom or digitally where an image on a negative or photographic print is wholly or partially reversed in tone. Dark areas appear light or light areas appear dark. It can be created in error but is also used for creative effect.

staged photography
A posed scene or performance enacted before the camera similar to tableaux vivants (living pictures). It can include studio portraiture and scenarios involving people that are directed or manipulated by the photographer. The genre is exemplified by Jeff Wall (b.1946) - see his masterpiece: A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) (1993, Tate Collection, London); and by Cindy Sherman (b.1954) - see for instance her Untitled Film Stills series (1977-80).

stereograph
A pair of photographs mounted together that are designed to be viewed with a stereoscope. The term applies to any medium used to create the pair of images, but can be refined to be process specific, for example, stereo-daguerreotype.

stereoscope
An optical instrument with two viewing lenses that fuses two images so that a single three-dimensional image is perceived. The three principal designs have been the Wheatstone (1838); the Brewster lenticular (1838, but popular from 1849) and the Holmes-pattern (1895).

still life photography
exemplified by Pepper #30 (1930, Silver Print, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) by Edward Weston (1886-1958). See also: Still Life Painting.

straight photography
Photography that attempts to depict a scene or object as realistically and objectively as possible. Straight photography rejects the use of manipulation; the term first emerged in the 1880s as a reaction to manipulated photography. In 1932 Group f/64 defined it as: 'possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form'. The genre was exemplified by the American lens-based artist Paul Strand (1890-1976).

street photography
A style of documentary photography that features subjects in public spaces. Street photography became popular from the 1890s with the introduction of hand cameras. The genre has attracted renewed interest since the early 2000s. Two great street photographers were Eugene Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

TIFF
An image format that is widespread in publishing - TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format.

TTL
A feature of SLR cameras, the viewfinder looks 'Through The Lens'.

under exposed
The exposure of light sensitive materials with too little light. In negative film this reduces density with a resultant loss of contrast and detail in the darker subject areas. In transparency film it results in an increase in density.

vernacular photography
Refers to images usually created by amateur or 'unknown' photographers and often depicts family or people in everyday and domestic situations. Their frequent banality, humour or photographic errors and occasionally artistic merit can give them an unintentional artistic quality or charm. They have attracted increasing interest from collectors and galleries.

view camera
Also known as a technical camera. The term refers to a large-format camera usually with lateral and vertical movements plus swing or tilt adjustment on the camera back and/or front lens standard. Traditionally the image was viewed on a ground glass screen on the camera back. Increasingly this has been replaced with a digital back with the subject viewed on a monitor.

viewfinder
A device used to see where the camera lens is pointing - it can be optical or LCD.

waxed-paper negative
The waxing - usually with beeswax - or oiling of negatives that was undertaken by William Henry Fox Talbot to calotype negatives aimed to improve their translucency and minimize a lack of sharpness. In 1851 Gustave Le Gray's waxed paper process proposed waxing the paper base of the negative before it was sensitized. The finished negatives secured better detail and tonal range comparable with the wet-collodion negative, which used glass as its base.

wide-angle lens
A lens of shorter than normal focal length to give a larger angle of view.

Woodburytype
Refers to both the process and print. The process is a photo-mechanical intaglio ink process. It was developed by Walter B. Woodbury in 1864 and was used for book illustration from 1866 until around 1900. It was commercially successful and capable of reproducing detail and the tonal range in a photograph.

Zone System
A system designed to bridge the gap between sensitometry and creative photography. It was developed by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer in 1939-40. It relied on empirical testing by the photographer of film and paper to provide information about the characteristics of the materials to support the photographer in definingthe relationship between the way a subject was visualized and the end result.

zoom
A facility that adjusts the lens of the camera to make an image seem closer than it is in reality.

REFERENCES
We gratefully acknowledge the use of material from Photography: The Whole Story (Thames & Hudson 2012): an essential reference work for any student of photography.

• For an explanation of visual arts terminology, see: Art Glossary.
• For schools and periods of architecture, painting, and sculpture, see: Art Movements Glossary.
• For architectural jargon, see: Architecture Glossary.
• For engraving, etching, lithography and woodcut terms, see: Printmaking Glossary.
• For art colours, see: Colour in Art Glossary.

• For our main index, see: Homepage.


ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ART
© visual-arts-cork.com All rights reserved.