This study of a woman in a loosely fitted dress posed against a studio easel demonstrates one of the earliest uses for which photography was considered appropriate, as a tool for painters and graphic artists. Shortly after photography's emergence in the mid-1800s, a great debate arose over whether or not this technological medium should be regarded as an art form. Many artists argued that photographs could not be considered art because they were made with a mechanical device and chemicals rather than by human hand and spirit. These individuals did however see photography as a useful way to eliminate the drudgery of studying from a live model. Figures posed in studio settings soon became a popular subject. Female figures, as a study in beauty and as a symbol of motherhood, were of great interest to all types of artists during this period.