The History of Photography, As Told Through Stick Figures

Posted by on Friday July 22, 2016 | Fine Art, Fun

 A Charles Woodard flash card. Recognize the August Sander images?
When Charles Woodard was in the history of photography class taught by Nick Muellner at Ithaca College, he sketched each masterpiece on a 4×6 flash card, to help him memorize the titles and dates for the final exam. His crude lines and stick figures are reductive, but also uncannily recognizable. The gallery Higher Pictures in New York City has now turned 60 of Woodard’s flash cards into a charming exhibition, “Charles Woodard, The History of Photography in Pen and Ink, 1646 – 1990.” It’s a fun way to zip through photographic history—from Fox Talbot’s salted print of an English abbey, through August Sander images (above), to a Thomas Struth photograph of museum goers.

We viewed the exhibition like a quiz: Before looking at the captions, we first tried to guess the famous photo. Like this:

a.

From “Charles Woodard The History of Photography in Pen and Ink, 1646 - 1990.”
b.

From “Charles Woodard The History of Photography in Pen and Ink, 1646 - 1990.”
c.

Charles Woodard 4x6 flash card 2007. From Higher Pictures.
d.

Charles Woodard 4x6 flash card 2007. From Higher Pictures.

Answers/Captions:

a. Charles Woodard, “Henri Cartier-Bresson. Behind the Gare St. Lazare, Paris, 1932, gelatin silver print, 2007 flash card.”

b. Charles Woodard, “W. Eugene Smith. Country Doctor, 1948, gelatin silver print, 2007 flash card.”

c. Charles Woodard, “Robert Frank. Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955-56, from The Americans, 1958, gelatin silver print, 2007 flash card.”

d. Charles Woodard, “Cindy Sherman. From ‘Untitled Film Stills,’ 1977-80, gelatin silver print, 2007 flash card.”

You can view all 60 flash cards at Higher Pictures.

Related articles:

New Exhibit Tour Brings Robert Frank’s Work to Younger Audiences

Photo of the Day: The Beginning of Diane Arbus

The History of Camera Technology in 11 Portraits


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