“Light” and “to draw” are the meaning behind the Greek words, photos and graphein. Images are recorded through a particular radiation—such as that with the action of light—on a sensitive material. The word “photography” was first used in 1839 by Sir John F.W. Herschel. Throughout the years, the exact methods used to capture images has transformed dramatically.
History of Photography and the Camera
Alhazen, who created the first pinhole camera, was an authority on optics in the Middle Ages. He was able to actually explain why the images that were captured were upside down. But it was not until 330 BC when Aristotle noted and observed the first optic laws. He is the one who also questioned the reason behind the sun’s ability to create a circular image even though it shined through a hole that was shaped in the form of a square.
Even though the pinhole camera was developed in 1000 AD, it was not until 1827 when the first photograph was actually recorded. This image was taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce. Prior to this summer day, this camera was simply used to view and draw images, not for actual photographs. These images were referred to as sun prints, and were modern photography’s prototype.
Louis Daguerre began working with Niepce in 1829 to help improve the method of photography. After working with Niepce for several years and after his death, Daguerre developed the daguerreotype, which involved the processing of pictures on silver-plated copper sheets. This method was a more effective and convenient way to take pictures. In order to take the pictures, the surface was painted with iodine, which made it sensitive to light. After the image was created through the use of light, the picture was then painted with silver chloride to keep the surface from transforming again.
The calotype was developed in 1841, and was the process of transferring images to paper. Henry Fox Talbot was the inventor, and developed this process by applying a silver salt solution to the paper so that it was sensitive to light. When he first began working on this method, the background of the picture was black and the image that was created was in shades of gray. The light and shadows were then reversed, which created a picture with great detail. Color photographs were not developed until the 1940s.
Rolled photographic film was first introduced by George Eastman, as was the Kodak camera. Eastman developed this method in 1888, and involved the processing of images on dry, flexible and transparent photographic film. In addition to the development of the actual film, Eastman also created the camera that could use the film. Eastman’s goal was to create a simplified method of photography. The first Kodak camera was available in 1888 when the Kodak Company was founded, and was preloaded with enough rolled film to capture 100 images. This made it possible for the invention of the motion picture camera by Thomas Edison in 1891.
The first type of digital photography was developed in 1969 by Bell Laboratories. The images that were taken were recorded in the form of pixels, and were not very clear until its progression in 1982. This type of photography entered into commerce in the late 1980s. The Professional Digital Camera System was introduced by Kodak, and allowed photojournalists to take electronic pictures for newspaper publishing. The type of camera that was used at this time had a 1.3 megapixel sensor, and was the Nikon F-3. The first consumer digital camera was not available until 1990.
There are pros and cons when comparing digital and film photography. One of the pros of using digital photography is that you can reuse the medium that the images are recorded on. For instance, once you have used the available space on the memory card, you can transfer the data onto another device, such as a computer, and clear the space for more images. With film photography, once you have used the film, it cannot be reused. Other pros of using digital over film include the ability of viewing the images instantly over the need to use chemicals to develop the film, and the ability to edit the photos without access to a darkroom. Two benefits of using film cameras is that the batteries last longer and the camera is quicker and more effective in shutter speed.
For further information about the history of photography, see the following links: