Cameras are such a common part of people’s lives nowadays, we almost invariably take them for granted. Many important newsworthy moments exist for us to study because so many people are walking around with cameras as common accessories in their phones. However, there are still professional photographers in the world who capture great beauty and share it with the world through their art.
These men and women use cameras that are extremely intricate and expensive, requiring greater care than that iPhone tucked in your back pocket. Both that equipment and the images it captures are often highly valuable to history and much would be lost if they were misplaced or stolen.
Until her story was told in the acclaimed documentary Finding Vivian Maier, little was known about Vivian Maier, yet her remarkable street views of Chicago and other cities vividly capture a period in the their history that could never be reproduced.
A career nanny who did not consider herself to be a professional, Ms. Maher’s 150,000 pictures were lost through her own disinterest. Their subsequent discovery, development and distribution revealed her to be one of the finest photographers who ever lived. Considering the incredible quality of that work, it is remarkable that she only ever sought to have a handful of her negatives printed.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott
Famously known as Scott of the Antarctic, Capt. Robert Falcon Scott and his men suffered the extreme weather of the South Pole in 1912. The exploits of their doomed expedition were previously documented only through diaries and sketches, but Scott also took a number of photographs. These pictures were lost for many years, but their subsequent rediscovery provided an additional and much more vivid look at this inhospitable, uncharted terrain. It would have been a great loss for history had they remained unseen.
Predating even the amazing photographic work of Scott, Victorian artist and critic John Ruskin relied on daguerreotypes, which are photographic images captured on silver and copper plates. His pioneering work included images of France, Switzerland and Italy. He is also credited with capturing the earliest surviving look at the wonders of the Alps. And yet almost all of these were lost forever when Ruskin died and his possessions were sold off piecemeal. In 2006, a collection of these daguerreotypes were offered at auction and their true value to history was finally recognized.
While many pictures the average person takes may seem insignificant at the time, the passage of history has a way of adding greater importance because of the way they have documented a time and place long past. Make sure your equipment and the art you create never end up accidentally misplaced by helping to keep it safe with a 3G GPS tracker. Whether these pictures are just capturing a moment in time or recording a genuinely important event in history, keep them safe and sound so future historians can marvel at your own little contributions to the worlds of art and history.