Photography has become an integral part of the daily lives of most Americans. They are exposed to images when they drive in their cars, when they read a magazine, and when they turn on their computers. These images all have a purpose and they all fall into one of the existing types of photography. Here are three of the most popular photography genres that have been impressing Americans for more than a century.
1. Wildlife Photography
This photography genre focuses on capturing images of wildlife while behaving normally in their natural habit. This is one of the most dangerous classes of photography due to the various situations where photographers will find themselves. Not only are they expected to have a strong working knowledge of photography, but they must also possess nature survival skills, an understanding of the animals, and field craft skills. A photographer may spend hours tracking an animal through a harsh environment just to capture a picture.
Wildlife photography initially only involved pets and zoo animals. Early cameras featured very slow lenses with poor sensitivity. It was simply impossible to capture detailed photographs of animals moving in the wild. Newly developed lenses helped photographer Ottomar Anschutz capture the first picture of flying birds in 1884. Later, in 1906, National Geographic began publishing wildlife photography.
2. Architectural Photography
This niche of photography includes pictures of buildings and other man-made structures. The goal is to capture pictures that are both accurate and pleasing to the eye. Architectures often seek out the best architectural photographers for their construction projects because their images will represent how the public views their building. The architects may also use the photographs as part of their portfolio to secure future work.
Architectural photography is believed to be the oldest form of photography. The oldest surviving permanent photographs included the view of nearby buildings through the window at Le Gras. The photographer was Nicephore Niepce. The popularity of architectural photography continued to climb over the following decades and by 1860 is one of the most well-known types of photography.
3. Landscape Photography
This final branch of photography focuses on capturing some aspect of nature on film, whether it’s the beauty of nature or a blemish on the landscape. These images can cover a large, open area or may be zoomed into nearly microscopic levels. There is very rarely any signs of human activity within the photographs.
Landscape photography emerged as a tool to document new landscapes. This was at a time when Americans were still exploring and cultivating new lands. Over time, as more households purchased their own camera, it gained a hobbyist following. People could use the pictures to capture a memory of a place they visited or really loved.
There are a number of photography genres that didn’t make the list. Many of the genres often cross lines and blend with others. For example, macro photography is a niche that focuses on extremely close up pictures of very small objects. These pictures are often of nature or wildlife. Other honorable mentions include wedding photography, fashion photography, and photojournalism.