History Of Photography

The name "Photography” was first coined by Sir John Herschel in 1839, the year when the photography techniques and process became public. The word itself is derived from the Greek words and means light and writing. In this article we will look back in the history of photography going back in its past and how photography began. The journey of photography has been amazing. Read on.

Before talking about the stages that led to the origin of photography, it is important to mention a quite eerie prediction made by a man called de la Roche. In a work called Giphantie, which is an imaginary tale, images from nature were captures on a canvas coated with a sticky substance. This surface, would not only present a mirror image on the sticky canvas, but the images would remain on it. Roche perhaps would never have imagined how prophetic this tale would be.

If we look in the photography history, we will see that it is a result of a combination of several photography techniques and discoveries. In the 5th century B.C, described a pinhole camera has been described by Chinese philosopher Mo Di. Byzantine mathematician Anthemius has been known to use a type of camera obscura in his experiments. The camera obscura and pinhole camera were studied in detail by Ibn al-Haytham. In 1694Wilhelm Homberg explained how light darkened some chemicals.

The history of photography reflects the photography to have been invented in the first decades of the nineteenth century. It captures more details and information than other mediums like painting and sculpting. The origin of photography can be traced back to the 1820s with the progress of chemical photography. It was in 1822 that the first permanent photoetching was produced by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. Niépce was successful in making the first permanent photograph from nature with a camera obscura in 1826. But his photographs took very long to expose, around 8 hours. So he sought to improve his photography techniques working in combination with Louis Daguerre. They ran several experiments using silver compounds in 1724. In 1833 Niépce died but Daguerre continued the work. Eventually, he concluded his experimentation with the development of the daguerreotype in 1837.

In the photography history, it was in 1839 that the first ever photo of a person was taken by Daguerre. The person was an ordinary person on foot, who had stopped for a shoe shine on the streets of France, long enough to be imprisoned by the long exposure of several minutes. In due course, Daguerre received a pension for his formula by France, in exchange for his assurance to publicize his discovery to the world as the gift of France. This he did in 1839, according to the history of photography.

In the meantime, a very similar process had been crated by Hercules Florence in 1832, who had named it Photographie. William Fox Talbot had also discovered earlier another means to fix a silver process image but had kept it undisclosed all the while. Talbot was to refine his process before making the portraits available to the masses. Looking back in the origin of photography, in 1840, Talbot invented the calotype process, creating the negative images, while John Herschel contributed to the development of many new photography techniques. He was behind the invention of the cyanotype process, now known as the "blueprint". Besides using the terms "photography" for the first time, he also coined the terms "negative" and "positive". He also made the first glass negative in late 1839.

Between 1852 and the late 1880s, as the history of photography reveals, the wet plate collodion technique became the most extensively used process. Mean while, with the passage of time, many new developments and progressions in photographic glass plates and printing were made. George Eastman developed the technology of film to substitute photographic plates in 1884. This led to the technology used by film cameras today. In 1908 Gabriel Lippmann was to recieve the Nobel Laureate in Physics for his method of reproducing colors photographically based on the phenomenon of interference, which is also known as the Lippmann plate.

Thus we see that the history of photography is not only interesting but a long one too.


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