Aaron Scharf (22 September 1922 – 21 January 1993) was an American-born British art historian who contributed in particular to the history of photography in which he had developed an interest while studying at the Courtauld Institute. His investigation uncovered links between painting (and other artforms) and photography, and evidence for artists using photography for reference and other purposes, as well as the way photographers with aspirations as artists referred to painting in their work. He thus pioneered a new field of art history when Pop Art and other movements in the 1960s were reincorporating the medium of photography (which developed separately since the 1930s, and which hitherto art historians in general treated separately from painting) and reference to popular photographic images, into mainstream artistic practice. Scharf popularised his study and discoveries with publication of his profusely illustrated hardback Penguin volume 'Art and Photography' (1968) and through his work at the Open University in producing innovative thematic educational videos on the history of photography and its relation to society.
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