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History of Photography

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Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.

History of Photography

Photography is an art form invented in the 1830s, becoming publicly recognized ten years later.

The history of photography began in remote antiquity with the discovery of two critical principles: camera obscura image projection and the observation that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light. There are no artifacts or descriptions that indicate any attempt to capture images with light-sensitive materials before the 18th century.

Today, photography is the largest growing hobby in the world, with the hardware alone creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Not everyone knows what camera obscura or even shutter speed is, nor have many heard of Henri Cartier-Bresson or even Annie Leibovitz.

When Was Photography Invented?

The roots of photography extend back further than you might assume. In the 4th Century BC, Aristotle made use of the principles of the camera obscura, in which an image is projected through a small hole. Through a camera obscura’s pinhole, the image of the world is often reversed or upside-down. While our notion of the camera has evolved dramatically, the “camera obscura” is considered the ancient building block upon which further revolutionary developments and inventions in the field of photography were built.

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Who Invented Photography?

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre are often considered the inventors of photography with cameras as we now know it. The former started out experimenting with silver chloride and silver halide photography, but couldn’t figure out how to prevent them from darkening with exposure to light.

In 1839, with exposure times of just a few seconds, the daguerreotype first became a means of using photography commercially for portraits. This has proven to be a critical juncture in the history of the photograph when it comes to the proliferation of cameras and the success of the medium.

Just a few years later, William Henry Fox Talbot came up with the calotype process. This was the first process that let photographers create a negative from which multiple prints could be made.

Frederick Scott Archer

In 1851, Frederick Scott Archer introduced the collodion wet plate process, which produced a negative image on a transparent glass plate. Although it was surpassed by the gelatin dry plate process in the late 1800s, the collodion process was used for tintype portraits and in the printing industry well into the 1900s.

In 1839, with exposure times of just a few seconds, the daguerreotype first became a means of using photography commercially for portraits. This has proven to be a critical juncture in the history of the photograph when it comes to the proliferation of cameras and the success of the medium.

Just a few years later, William Henry Fox Talbot came up with the calotype process. This was the first process that let photographers create a negative from which multiple prints could be made.

In 1851, Frederick Scott Archer introduced the collodion wet plate process, which produced a negative image on a transparent glass plate. Although it was surpassed by the gelatin dry plate process in the late 1800s, the collodion process was used for tintype portraits and in the printing industry well into the 1900s.

The History and Development of Photography

After the invention, it took a long time for photographs and cameras to develop into what we have come to know today. This required more revolutionary ideas and exciting reinventions, which we can now look back on as milestones in the history of photography.

The film roll: In 1889, George Eastman created the roll of film, which made it possible to shoot multiple pictures one after the other. He released it through his company Kodak, and it was a breakthrough in the practical application of photography. It made snapshots possible, and no longer did the images need to be immediately and individually processed. In the same year, Thomas Edison cut it down the middle and added perforated edges, establishing the 35mm format that became so prevalent later.

The 35mm camera: The first Leica camera was developed by Oskar Barnack. Introduced in 1925, the Leica prototype used a small-format, 35mm film. In comparison to the bulky box cameras previously in use, the compact Leica camera was a highly modern improvement.

Color photos: In 1936, photographic technology took an exciting step forward with advances in color film. Kodak released Kodachrome, a film with multiple layers for developing in color.

Polaroid Pictures: Around that time, the first instant camera was also invented. The aesthetic is as popular as ever, enthusiastically co-opted by photo services such as Instagram. The Polaroid camera introduced by Edwin H. Land in 1848 was capable of producing a fully developed photo shortly after taking it.

The Digital Camera: While the concept of digital cameras has existed since the 1960s, the camera Steven Sasson of Eastman Kodak built-in 1975 is generally considered the first self-contained digital camera. Much like photography with film, advances in technology have led to explosive growth in the medium’s popularity.

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