Since the beginning of time humans have searched for ways to convey their emotions through visual methods. Starting with cave paintings, moving into charcoal drawings and oil paintings, and eventually into true representations of reality such as photographs, photo art has captivated and enthralled people for millennia. It is no surprise then that current trends in wall covering are turning to this time honored method for modern answers. Some of the most prevalent and visually stunning of these works come from the realm of photography, specifically black and white photography.
Becoming widespread during the American Civil War, photography quickly developed into the choice medium for newspapers and other informative applications. Matthew Brady transformed the practice of photography into an entire form of news which we now call photojournalism. Yet after the Civil War, Brady turned photography into much more than simply a new medium. He began taking pictures of people, 18 out of 19 American Presidents that were alive during his lifetime became his subjects. It is also with Brady that we begin to see the boundaries of photography expand from people, battle, death, and rulers, to the landscape that makes up this great country. This landscape that surrounds and absorbs us all would become the favored subject of perhaps the greatest American photographer, Ansel Adams.
Adams became famous, and rightfully so, for photographing the greatest landscapes that this land could put forth. From the Grand Canyon to his most famous photographs of Yosemite National Park began to capture the imagination of not only the average American but the attention of the artistic community as well. It is this grounding in reality that allowed the medium to transform from a documentation tool into what is perhaps the most prevalent and popular form of art known today. Photography is able to capture such realism and emotion yet at the same time, with just a minor amount of work, it is able to create fantasy worlds and distant ideas that almost feel like memories without the fuzz around the edges. And it is able to do this because it is a universal art form. Any man, woman, or child can, with the right ideas, create wonderfully beautiful photographs with virtually no training or equipment.
For these reasons photography should be placed at the top of any list of potential art. Applied correctly photography can brighten a room or convey emotions so deep it would take many many viewings of the same photograph to fully understand them. Using photographs as wall coverings or wall art is perhaps the most intriguing of all their uses. Where words are able to convey what we are thinking, photographs are able to convey what we are feeling and it is for this reason that they, more than any other art medium, will continue to capture, inspire, and control the hearts and minds of aspiring artists, decorators, or just everyday people for generations to come.