The history of photography sees the study of the naturalist cultural trend as an important step in the evolution of the photographic art towards what it has come to mean today. Naturalist photography is basically the forerunner of the pictograph dimension of photo shooting in general. There are some important features associated with naturalist photography and they usually touch upon the tendency to focus on the simplicity of both man and nature, on the serene relationship that exists between the two at a very shallow level, all being imbued with an increased touch of artistic sensitivity that is usually reflected by the subject.
Naturalist photography was the result of social and economic trends that were opposing each other in mid 19th century; this shows us that like any other art form, photography cannot be taken out of the climate from which it is born. Naturalist photography reflects the artistic movement of the industrial age with rural life losing ground in the face of an ever more advanced machine-oriented urban society. For those times, naturalist photography clearly shows the attempt to stick to some important life aspects beyond the huge radical changes and upheavals. Presently, naturalist photography is undeniably seen as a response to the Industrial Revolution.
Naturalist photography became a sort of mirror for the dehumanization of the individual in a pervasive climate where self-consciousness was no longer enough. Distrust of technology because of its making warfare so efficient, made simple natural landscapes the perfect spiritual symbol of naturalist photographers who found a new expression in wilderness. There were so many unexplored frontiers to represent and show, that much of the human spirituality was passed onto nature by means of exquisite artistic pictures. Naturalist photography slowly evolved towards pictography that primarily meant imbuing photos with elements specific to painting, first and foremost.
Naturalist photography is part of important collections, there are still fans of this visual representations but manifestations are rather scarce. Despite the horrors going on in our modern society, the age mood is no longer the same, as little refuge can now be taken in the wild, the way our forefathers used to find. Naturalist photography suffered mutations and marked a certain type of revolution in the history of this visual art, but it has now another counterpart. Present day photojournalism and documentary pictures make the social stand naturalist photography used to take in the past.