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The invention of photography had enormous impact on art. First, the camera
obscura of the middle ages, brought back from the East during the Crusades,
allowed artists to visually SEE the "laws" of perspective. They would set
up their nativity scenes or whatever in front of the box and then draw it
as it was reflected on the back of the box. (upside down, of course)
Then, when real photographs became the rage in the mid 19th Century,
suddenly artists saw that, hey, if the body gets cut off by the borders of
the image, it's no biggie. I think Degas was one of the first painter to
use this technique, and people were kind of confused when he'd put half a
ballerina in his compositions. But with "reality" being taken care of by
the photographers, the artists were freed to explore other things. And
boy, did they ever!