Human nature has always been reaching for the beauty. People try to surround themselves with aesthetic things and visit lovely places. Nowadays, it has become easy to buy art or make your own collection of masterpieces. But have you ever experienced creating the beauty yourself? And if you think that classical art forms are not your cup of tea, probably you will like photography. This extremely popular modern hobby has a long and exciting history.
The first camera ever was invented in the Middle Ages by Alhazen and was called the Camera Obscura or a pinhole camera. It could reproduce the image upside down and was used only for viewing some pictures or drawing them, but didn’t allow preserving the images.
Nicephore Niepce was the first to capture a picture with a pinhole camera and get a real photographic image, called a heliograph or a sun print. Niepce used a metal plate covered with some chemicals, and exposed it to light for about eight hours. The materials reacted with the sunlight and the image was created. Unfortunately, Niepce’s pictures faded away soon.
Louis Daguerre liked Niepce’s invention and wanted to develop it. His goal was making the process of photography more practical. After many trials, in 1839, Daguerre invented the method which he called after himself. Daguerreotyping required a silver-plated sheet of copper, coated in iodine. This construction was sensitive to light and created a fixed picture. Daguerreotyping became very popular in those days, because the exposure took just a few minutes.
Calotype and Tintype
The next step in photography development was invention of the negative-to-positive technology. Henry Fox Talbor used silver salt solution in order to make paper sensitive to light. The image on such paper was rendered in grade tones while the background was black. Talbor then reversed the lights and shadows making contact prints and got a realistic image. He called his technology a calotype. Working with negatives was a basic photography method for decades and many further upgrades, such as tintypes, consisted in changing the material exposed to light.
Wet and Dry Plates
Wet plate negatives invented by Frederick Archer were created on glass covered with silver salt. Using glass allowed getting more stable image. Still, the developing process required to be done fast until the emulsion dried. A hand-held camera with a gelatin dry plate inside, invented by Richard Maddox, became an alternative to the previous cumbersome tripods. It opened the way to candid photography.
Discovery of the photo film was a turning point in the industry. In 1885, George Eastman, the founder of the Kodak camera, launched production of first paper and then celluloid film. Replacing film rolls enabled to design a handy box camera for an affordable price. Kodak cameras became extremely popular among average consumers.
A whole century had passed until Kodak released its first digital camera. As you can see, it took the camera a long way to get its modern shape. And if our article inspired you to become a photographer, learn how to choose camera, buy one and create art yourself!