Golden Age of American Illustration

Posted: October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Especially interesting to me this module, was the process which lead up to photography. Howard Pyle played a big role in the technological advancements during the mid century. In Meggs, it is states that “Pyle’s own work and remarkable gifts as a teacher made him the major force that launched the period called the Golden Age of American Illustration (163).” Pyle was the first to complete a tonal illustration as well as the first to produce a two-color illustration.

During the Golden Age of American Illustration, Pyle created the famous Walking the Plank. According to one author, “Pyle selected the climactic moment when the prisoner—bound, blindfolded, but still holding himself powerfully—must choose between the bullet and the ocean” (

The photomechanical process began, and is interesting because it was one of the first ways dots were used to create an image that mimicked a real photograph. It’s amazing to think that now all we have to do is click a button on our phones or digital cameras and we can get an amazing still image, when in the 19th century, exposure was so slow that moving objects could not be captured in an image. An example of this, is Louis Jacques Daguerre’s photo (1839) of a moving town which only captured two men polishing their shoes, which were the first ever to be photographed.

It’s crazy how far we’ve come with technological advancements, even from film to digital, and from movies moving more and more towards being shot with digital cinematography. I was not aware that many movies are actually still shot with film and that only parts are shot digitally. According to Wiki, Slumdog Millionnairre was one of the first movies (in 2009) to prove that digital cinemetography can be the primary source of shooting, since it won an Academy Award.

*All images are sourced by the link attached to them…




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