Table of Contents
- 1 A Brief History of Photography- The Photography Timeline
- 1.1 Before Photography Was Invented
- 1.2 Obscura- The Ancient Camera
- 1.3 Evolution of Pre-Camera Photography
- 1.4 The Invention of Camera
- 1.5 Evolution of Technology
- 1.5.1 The Ancient Camera
- 1.5.2 Developing Practical Cameras
- 1.5.3 Reflex Camera
- 1.5.4 First SLR Camera
- 1.5.5 Polaroid Camera
- 1.5.6 Cameras With Digital Image Sensors
- 1.6 Names To Remember
- 1.7 A Gallery of Photos from Early 1800s
A Brief History of Photography- The Photography Timeline
Almost every one of us acknowledges the massive impact of photography on modern culture. The techniques and artworks of different photographic genres are both influencing and redefining culture, trends and tradition. From the very beginning of civilization & history of photography, expression through photography was cultured as a storing medium of communication.
Today in this content, we will have a flashback on how those amazing techniques and art revolutionized and how it came to become the era of modern photography.
Before Photography Was Invented
Before the invention of the camera or creation of photography, people supposed to know how the entire thing works! They didn't know how to process the images and how to convert those black and white negatives into color photographs, but they learned to process images at walls or piece of paper. Though there was no camera by the time we are talking about, but there were a gadget people used to use to create something like printed photographs. The name of the gadget is called The Obscura.
Obscura- The Ancient Camera
Obscura is a Latin word which means Darkroom. It was being used at the ages of 13-14th centuries. In the history, there was a manuscript that was developed by Arabian scholar Hassan IBN Hassan and we got to know how it works.
How Obscura Works?
Obscura or Camera Obscura is a dark and closed space in such a shape that it had a hole in the wall of the box at one of the sides. The hole that was on the wall, had to be small enough for maintaining the proposition of light that came up into it.
The light comes through the tiny hole and it created an image of the surface it meets ( as an example- the wall of the box). The image was mirrored and tends to be upside down. So the image was inverted. But still, it was able to capture the colors of any object that are in front of it. And eventually, from that core concept, modern cameras are created.
IN fact, a matter of wonder is, still joe the same principle is used to capture images of any body. But the equipment that is used in catching the light and letting light come through, is way smarter. However the invention Obscura was considered to be the early milestone in the evolution of photography.
Evolution of Pre-Camera Photography
The way photography was developing, was defined to be a killer form of fine arts and thus, people of all age and centuries have played an important role in the evolution of photography. Before inventing the camera, in the ages of Renaissance, photography principles were widely used by artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo, and so many others.
In fact one of the Italian scholars of that age named Giovanni Battista Della Portacentury explained in one of his books that, how the concept of Camera Obscura can be used to make painting easier. Using these principles, he was able to project the images of people outside oof the obscura on a wall. IN this case, the obscura was like a big room although. But this event has taken the art into a new dimension. Also, there is no doubt that the obscura, was the early prototype of the modern camera.
The Invention of Camera
Photography had become familiar as a form of art at the 1840s. Before that, almost 10 years ago, at the 1830s, photography was invented. Since then, photography has become the most growing hobby of people worldwide and it becomes a multi-billion dollar industry. But all of the journeys started back when the camera was invented.
Special thanks to COOPH for this video
The First Photographic Camera
As the history says, the very first photograph that was taken using the camera was taken at 1825 (or 1826) by a French Inventor named as Joseph Niepce. It represented a view from the window at the city- Le Gras. The merit in the picture was that this was the first photograph that was able to both be taken and preserved. Though the exposure was almost 8 hours and because of this, the quality was nothing compared to modern photographs.
But still, from that event, the age of digital photography began. Because, before this historic event, people somehow knew how to project pictures of anything into a board, but there was no technique to preserve the light. Joseph came up to be the first person to introduce techniques of storing photographs permanently.
Firstly, he used a petroleum derivative called Bitumen of Judea as storage. It worked quite like the modern silver negatives. Bitumen of Judea was hardened according to the intensity of light exposure that falls onto it. Afterward, the unhardened material was washed away to get the black and white picture.
Evolution of Technology
Here is a list of some discrete facts that you may find interesting. All of these are top picks from the entire timeline of photography- since the Greek and Chinese evolution.
The Ancient Camera
The ancient Greek and Chinese used to use a mechanical device named Camera Obscura (described above) that could project an image of an object on a screen. This invention played a big role in the evolution of photography.
Developing Practical Cameras
Many designs had been proposed on the real working camera since the 1800s. But none of those couldn't come to be practically efficient until the late 1800s.
Afterward, cameras that can work and store images on a screen, were developed.
The Kodak Camera
The Kodak Camera, which was one of the earliest camera models, was developed by George Eastman at 1888 and released for sale.
The name is remembered because it successfully introduced the usage of films on camera. Although, it was a pretty simple design along with fixed shutter speed and fixed focal length.
Lucia- The First Compact Camera
At the year of 1913, Oskar Barnack, German optical engineer, presented a model prototype of compact camera called Lucia. It contained a 35mm lens and later on, it was put into mass production in the year of 1925.
Reflex cameras were designed and developed massively at the years of the 1920s and 1930s.
First SLR Camera
The concept of seeing the image before capturing it was introduced by SLR(Single Lens Reflex) cameras. It was in the year around the 1930s. To visualize the image that will be captured, the designer used a prism and afterward it turned to be the key concept of modern DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras.
Polaroid cameras was an evolution of the industry because, for the first time in photography technology, it allows the cameraman to take and print the pictures instantly. A special chemical process was used then in Polaroid cameras to print the image captures within almost one minute.
Although, the popularity of these models took off when another model of cameras, named as Polaroid Model 20 Swinger was introduced at 1965. This version of Polaroid camera made history by being one of the most selling cameras of all time.
The next addition of camera technology was bumped up with disposable cameras. Although the concept of disposable cameras was around during 1949, but it actually showed up at the 1990s.
By then, the Kodak model cameras gained much popularity. Kodak cameras were so much popular because of their cheap rate and they were really perfect for event-based photo sessions like birthdays, weddings etc.
Cameras With Digital Image Sensors
A real revolution was the introduction of digital image sensors ion the cameras.
This tech was first promoted and invented by Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith at the year of 1969. In fact, because of the significant role of their invention, the scientist's pair were awarded the Nobel prize recently (2009).
First Commercial DSLR Camera
The most popular digital camera of current age, named as DSLR were first introduced commercially by Kodak at the year of 1991.
Afterward, with a little evolution to the technology, photos and videos were developed to be stored in SD memory cards as JPEG format.
Modern DSLR Cameras
With a lot of improvement to the history of photography of DSLR cameras, it had turned into the magical device to take pictures of much higher resolution and pixels.
The popularity of digital cameras started to explode at around 2000s as the history become so smarter and the photography costs decreased. Modern technology with digital cameras is being improved day by day with the introduction of electric viewfinders and touch pads.
Names To Remember
At the very beginning of the history of photography, very few people were doubt-free and full of controversies took place around it. By then, most of the people denied it to be a big industry and field of artworks. It is because of those few people, who had provided restless efforts to turn photography into the potential industry. These few persons revolutionized the way photographs were taken, were seen and judged. Here in this section, we are going to introduce some of the most influential persons from the list.
1. Alfred Stieglitz
The invention of photography is considered to be a scientific achievement and a great addition to the industrial world. Apart from the scientific and business perspective, it contains a great art value that represents day to day life in a frame. The artistic concept of photography was fist introduced by this man named Alfred Stieglitz.
Contribution of Alfred Stieglitz
The greatest contribution of Alfred is remarkable. Besides of photography, Alfred was also interested in Avant-garde. He owned a few famous art galleries of New York and through these, he introduced some great event-grade artists to the nation.
Alfred pointed out that, apart from the painters, photographers are also considered as artists. He demonstrated that the quality of photographs not only depend on the content of picture only. It also depends on the conceptual representation of the photographer himself. The photographer himself can manipulate a lot with the contents present in from the lens. Eventually, due to his restless efforts, photographs of different exhibitions started to be judged by photographers apart from artists.
2. Felix Nadar
Felix Nadar is a French caricaturist and journalist in his early life. Later when the era of photography started on, become a photographer. He is especially remembered for contributing an important factor into photography- using artificial lights in photography. An interesting fact is, Nadar was a friend of famous fiction writer Joules Verne, and thus two friends were inspired by each other.
Contribution of Felix Nadar
Apart from the successful application of artificial light, Nadar was also famous for another great concept. Portrait photography, which is one of the most populated sectors of the modern photographic industry and history of photography- was firstly introduced by Nadar. By that time, Nadar was known as close friends of many famous personalities like Joule Verne, peter Kropotkin, Alexander Dumas and George Sands.
Nadar introduced portrait photography with these sort famous personalities, and eventually the concept of portrait photography spread out like wildfire.
3. Henry Cartier-Bresson
Photojournalism os one of the most studied subject in the world of media and fine arts. But many of us don’t know who is the actual behind the scene person is. Henry Cartier, A French photographer was the first person to bring photojournalism into daylight. Personally, he has gathered photographic experience from around the globe.
Contribution of Henry Cartier-Bresson
We are thankful to Henry for many reasons. He is the first person in history of photography to tell the world that photography can be a solution to fix the eternity. When his first exhibition on portrait photographs took place at NY, the portrait pictures caught the attention of the world because being captured with a new dimension. Since then, people had been trying different versions of portrait photography.
Also, he made photojournalism and photo artists popular among the young generations.
A Gallery of Photos from Early 1800s
Evolution of Photo Development Technology
Cameras are used to capture lights that come from the object that is supposed to be photographed. But after clicking a photo on the camera, the next task is to develop and print the photo on paper. A lot of consequences had been noticed in this photo development technology. From the early age black and white photo printing to modern color photography- it has been an enormous journey.
Here in this section, we will overlook at the evolution of the history of photography that has been used to develop the photos after they are taken.
1. Negative to Positive Process
Technologies of printing positive photos from negatives were invented many years after the first photographs were taken. The creation and invention of negative prints of photos from where multiple positive photos could be taken were first made by Henry Fox Talbot who was an English botanist and also a mathematician of contemporary Daguerre.
Talbot used a silver and salt solution to make it sensitive to light exposure and intensity. After putting the chemical on a paper, he exposed the paper to light. The background became black and the subject line was subdivided into many shades of gray. From the negative image, Talbot made several contact points that reversed the lights and intensities to create an original and detailed picture. In 1841, he successfully developed a model of negative to positive image printing and thus he called it Calotype.
After Calotype, there was another technology which appeared in history of photography. Though the patent was taken on 1856, the evolution took place after Calotype had already familiar.
There was another medium that was made of tin or iron based materials. A layer of light-sensitive material was provided on the metal sheet and that was supposed to yield the image based on the light intensity and exposure. Unless the material type, the working process was almost same like Calotype. So, both of these technologies were competitors of each other back then.
3. Wet Plate Negatives
In 1851, an English Sculptor named as Frederick Scoff Archer introduced another sort of technology for fast and accurate photo development into the timeline of photography. It was called the wet plate technology. There in this process, a viscous solution of collodion was used along with coated glass. Silver salts were used as the light sensitive material. The model used to develop a perfect negative because it was glass instead of paper.
From this invention, photographic development had been taken to the advanced level as the light-sensitive metal could be coated on glass sheets instead of papers. However, there were several disadvantages of the wet plate negatives. They had to be developed so quickly so that image can be printed before the emulsion dried. So, in the field, photographers had to carry a portable darkroom with them.
4. Dry Plate Negatives
In the year of 1879, the invention of the dry plate has revolutionized the photographic concept and decreased the cost to a minimum. In fact, it was a glass plate along with gelatin emulsion.
Dry plates can be stored for a particular period of time. So after the invention of dry plates, photographers didn't need to carry the portable darkroom anymore. Hiring technicians to develop images instead of working in person was also a common trend of photographers of this age.
In the dry chemical process, the light was also absorbed so quickly. So the practice of carrying hand-held cameras has been started in this age. Overall, the invention of the dry plate was a significant milestone in the modern age of photography.
5. Flexible Roll Film
Unlike the dry plate and wet plate films, a new version of photographic films was introduced at 1889. The major benefit of those films was they were flexible and can be rolled. The design was implemented by considering the benefit that, it can hold more than 100 images at a time in a very tiny film slot in the camera.
With this evolution, allotting a special place for camera films in the camera was stopped and films were able to be embedded into the camera. The designer of this model was George East man. Cellulose nitrate was the chemical that was used in it. The age of box the camera began from this invention.
6. Color Photographs
At the end of the black and white photography history, color photography was the next step. In was in warily 1940s when commercially viable films that can contain multiple colors on it were introduced. An exception was Coda chrome, which was introduced earlier at 1935. A technology of dye-coupled color was the chemical energy that was used in it. Eventually, an apparent color image can be produced from this kind of cameras. And not to mention that modern time of photography was based on the concept of color photography.
7. Digital Photography
Finally, we are up to the latest update of photography, which is massively known as digital photography history. In the period of digital photography, many camera brands have grown up. They have been launching various types of digital cameras. Digital slr is on of them. If you like to have an idea about current dslr market then feel free to visit here.
The storyline began when a team by Russell A, Kirsch developed a technology that was an advanced version of binary digital version of the existing history of photography technology. A device called the wire photo drum scanner was there to convert the alphanumeric characters, photographs, diagrams etc into binary signals for computers. The first digital photograph was taken of the infant son of Kirsch himself. The image resolution was 176 x 176 pixels and the pixel density was only one byte per pixel.