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Jeffrey Boloten

Since the invention of photography was officially announced in 1839, the continuous and determined efforts to create and develop a market for photography have always been inextricably linked to photography’s very struggle for legitimacy as an art form. The invention of photography drew a multitude of negative reactions from artists and critics of the time. Photography, being a mechanical means of reproduction, was much linked to the anxieties generated by the Industrial Revolution, and the threat of the mechanization of all artistic endeavours. Photography was also seen as a very real commercial threat to the lucrative trades of portrait painters and miniaturists. Although the art establishment, as a whole, preferred to characterize this new practice as merely an artistic tool, and not an actual art form in its own right, photography did manage to find a modicum of recognition within the 19th-century European art world. Photographic still-lifes by Jules Boitouzet (...