Wednesday, July 4, 2007

History of Photography and the Camera

Part 1: The first photographs
First American Daguerreotype
First American Daguerreotype
More of this Feature
- The History of Photography and the Camera
- Part 2: Improving Films and Prints
History and Timelines
- A Moment in Time - Timeline of Film and Cameras.
- Master Photographers
From Abbott to Winogrand, learn about each master photographer and their impact on the history of photography.
- A History of Photography
From its beginnings till the 1920s - significant people, processes, and history.
- History of Photography
A thumbnail sketch that gives a great overview with links to more in-depth material.
- Still Photography
- George Eastman - The History of Kodak - Photographic Film
George Eastman invented dry, transparent, and flexible, photographic film (rolled photography film) and the Kodak cameras that could use the new film in 1888.
- 35mm Still Camera
The history of the 35mm still camera.
- Digital Camera
The history of the digital camera.
Related Innovations
- The Daguerreotype
- Aerial Photography - Andrew Heafitz
- Motion Picture Inventions
- Xerox Photocopiers, Xerography
- Harold E. "Doc" Edgerton - high-speed stroboscopic photography
- European House of Photography
- The George Eastman Museum

"Photography" is derived from the Greek words photos ("light") and graphein ("to draw") The word was first used by the scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. It is a method of recording images by the action of light, or related radiation, on a sensitive material.

On a summer day in 1827, it took eight hours for Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to obtain the first fixed image. About the same time a fellow Frenchman, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre was experimenting to find a way to capture an image, but it would take another dozen years before he was able to reduce the exposure time to less than 30 minutes and keep the image from disappearing… ushering in the age of modern photography.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, inventor of the first practical process of photography, was born near Paris, France on November 18, 1789. A professional scene painter for the opera, Daguerre began experimenting with the effects of light upon translucent paintings in the 1820s. In 1829, he formed a partnership with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to improve the process Niépce had developed to take the first permanent photograph in 1826-1827. Niépce died in 1833.

After several years of experimentation, Daguerre developed a more convenient and effective method of photography, naming it after himself -- the daguerreotype. In 1839, he and Niépce's son sold the rights for the daguerreotype to the French government and published a booklet describing the process.

The daguerreotype gained popularity quickly; by 1850, there were over seventy daguerreotype studios in New York City alone.

Continue With
Part Two: How Different Films and Prints Were Invented
Part Three: Timeline of The Art of Photography

Pinhole Camera and Camera Obscura
Alhazen (Ibn Al-Haytham), a great authority on optics in the Middle Ages and lived around 1000 on the Gregorian calendar, invented the pinhole camera, and explained why the image was upside down. Around 1600, Della Porta reinvented the pinhole camera. Apparently he was the first European to publish any information on the pinhole camera and is sometimes incorrectly credited with its invention.
The Camera Obscura : Aristotle to Zahn
The camera obscura was the direct forerunner of the camera. The first casual reference [to the Camera Obscura] is by Aristotle (Problems, ca 330 BC), who questions how the sun can make a circular image when it shines through a square hole. Johannes Kepler was the first person to coin the phrase Camera Obscura in 1604, and in 1609, Kepler further suggested the use of a lens to improve the image projected by a Camera Obscura.

Magic Lantern - Slide Projector
The Magic Lantern was the forerunner of the modern slide projector.

Flashlight Powder
Blitzlichtpulver or flashlight powder was invented in Germany in 1887 by Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke. Lycopodium powder (the waxy spores from club moss) was used in early flash powder.

The first modern photoflash bulb or flashbulb was invented by Austrian, Paul Vierkotter. Vierkotter used magnesium-coated wire in an evacuated glass globe. Magnesium-coated wire was soon replaced by aluminum foil in oxygen. On September 23, 1930, the first commercially available photoflash bulb was patented by German, Johannes Ostermeier. These flashbulbs were named the Vacublitz. General Electric produded a flashbulb called the Sashalite.
A Flash of Light
Photography in the dark
Photoflash Bulbs

Polaroid or Instant Photos
Polaroid photography was invented by Edwin Herbert Land. Land was the American inventor and physicist whose one-step process for developing and printing photos created instant photography.

Disposable Camera
Fuji introduced the disposable camera in 1986. We call them disposables but the people who make these cameras want you to know that they're committed to recycling the parts, a message they've attempted to convey by calling their products "single-use cameras."

Frederick Charles Luther Wratten (1840-1926)
English inventor and manufacturer, Frederick Wratten founded one of the first photographic supply businesses, Wratten and Wainwright in 1878. Wratten and Wainwright manufactured and sold collodion glass plates and gelatin dry plates.

In 1878, Wratten invented the "noodling process" of silver-bromide gelatin emulsions before washing. In 1906, Wratten with the assistance of Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees (E.C.K Mees) invented and produced the first panchromatic plates in England. Wratten is best known for the photographic filters that he invented and are still named after him - Wratten Filters. Eastman Kodak purchased his company in 1912.

History Continues With Part Two: Improving Films and Prints

©Mary Bellis
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