To begin talking about photography, we need to look back at the origins from where circumstantial everything else has come to be. Let’s begin by looking at the Camera obscura.
Camera obscura means ‘darkened room’ in Latin. The first recorded C.O. dates back to Ancient Greece. The way C.O. works is by having a dark room or a box and on one of the walls you have a small hole. The light coming in from that hole projects an image on the opposite wall. In the 13th C the C.O. has been used to observe the sun. In the 16th C artists have used C.O. to draw with great precision.
In the beginning of the 19th C Louis Jacques Mande’ Daguerre has invented the daguerreotype process which has been used up to twenty years after its invention. Then cheaper processes have been introduced and the daguerreotype
The process of daguerreotype is polishing a sheet of silver-plated copper, the treating it with halogen fumes to give it light sensitivity, then the plate is fumed with mercury vapor to make the image visible. Then with chemicals the light sensitivity is removed. The last thing is to put the image in a closed box with a glass front to protect it.
‘During the 19th century, however, cameras were mainly in the hands of professionals or self-educated entrepreneurs who tried photography as a trade. Interestingly, photography has never required professional licensing or guild membership (with the exception of Talbot’s unsuccessful attempt to sell licenses early after his invention). In the mainstream, any tinker or businessman could buy the equipment, obtain the directions, and proceed. This openness of the medium made photographic practice rather free from the traditions that had grown up around painting or the various printmaking arts.’
In 1871 the process of dry plates has been introduced where a glass sheet is covered with gelatin which was holding silver bromide. When this emulsion dries the plates can be carried around by the photographer, which cut the need of a portable darkroom to prepare the plates just before shooting. This process has become more accessible to people and more and more have started showing interest in photography.
In 1888 George Eastman invented a box with a wide angle lens and a roll of paper-backed emulsion. The images produced were circular. The roll had space for 100 shots, after which the you would have to give the camera to Kodak for them to develop the images and for a fee put a new roll inside the camera.
In 1935 Eastman introduced the Kodachrome which until 2009 when it was discontinued has been known as the best color film available on the market. After Kodak’s bankruptcy, the company Ilford has taken its place as the the top photography tools provider (film, paper, developers, etc )
Around 1930 companies like Leica, Nikon, Canon and Rolleiflex have introduced their cameras to the market.
In 1975 a worker from Kodak has invented the first digital camera, which used a cassette tape to record its images. That camera weighed 9 pounds, took only black and white images with its 0.01 mp sensor, but that camera never became something more than a prototype.
In 1991 Kodak had released its first commercial digital camera ( the DCS 100 ) which used the body of a Nikon F3 with an attached digital recorder to it. That camera has a 1.3 mp sensor and was mainly aimed at journalists.
The first full-frame (35mm eq.) was the Contax N, produced in Japan. It had a 6mp sensor. It did not continue production for long after its release.
From 2000 Nikon and Canon have been pioneering the digital camera industry.
With the advancement in technology, camera phones have become more and more popular to their current state with massive 40mp sensors and 4k video recordings. Now everyone has a camera in his hands and uses it every day regardless for what.
Many have been looking back at the film era and are replicating the effect of film photography through applications on their phone.
Others have developed interest in the movement of Lomography, which produces images with faded colours, soft focus and in general terrible results, through the use of cheap plastic cameras and 35mm film.
In the 19th century there have been the Pictorialist photographers, who were doing similar things. Using a soft focus lens to achieve blurred images.
A Brief History of Photography: Part 5 – Dry Plate Photography