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The History of Photography

In this modern age it’s easy to take photography for granted. Photographs are everywhere we look and more people than ever have access to a camera whether it be on our cell phone or DSLR. Photography has become such a convenient art form and means of documenting our lives that we rarely think about how it came to be in the first place. Some of us will recall the pre-digital days of shooting on film, but did you know that photography’s history stretches back even earlier than that? Check out the clip below to learn more!

Photography’s humble beginning dates back as far the 9th century when an Arab scientist named Alhazen created the first Camera Obscura, a large box with a small hole in one side that allowed what ever it was facing to be projected onto a wall inside the Camera Obscura. While the projection was not recorded onto a photograph, it did allow artists to copy the projection to help them more easily portray dimensions and perspective in their paintings.

The Camera Obscura marked the beginning of photography.

Then, in 1724, Johan Heinrich Shultz discovered the recording capabilities of certain silver compounds. The compound, however, would only hold the exposed image from the Camera Obscura for a short amount of time before it would fade away. It took us over 100 years to figure out a way to create an image that maintained it’s exposure indefinitely. With this invention in 1839, photography finally developed a strong foothold (Via Ted-Ed and Imaging Resource)

Very soon after, William Talbot invented the calotype process which was capable of reproducing multiple paper prints from one exposure, and Louis Daguerre created the much more popular daguerreotype process which produced a sharper image, but could only make a single print per exposure. The daguerreotype marked the beginning of commercial photography.

George Eastman, inventor of roll film, would go on to film the iconic Eastman Kodak company.

In an effort to make photography more accessible and bypass the daguerreotypes limitations, George Eastman began inventing a dry-plate process, which was quickly followed by the advent of roll film. With roll film, photography became widespread and was no longer something limited to artists and professionals. Photography was now something individuals could afford to do.

“It’s now estimated that over 380 billion photos are taken each year. That’s more photographs taken per day than in the first 100 years after photography was invented.”

[via PictureCorrect Photography Tips]

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