A Photography history

With amazing high tech cameras of today have you ever wondered about photography history? How and when it all began? If so then welcome to a very brief history lesson.
 
The ancient Greeks and Egyptians were the first people in photography history to understood how a basic Camera Obscura (Latin for dark chamber) could be created to form inverted images onto a wall in a darkened room. Still to this very day the process where light enters a dark space through a hole or aperture and forms an inverted image on a flat surface is the basic principle of photography.
 
The discovery of Silver Chloride by Georges Fabricus in the 16th century and the discovery by Wilhelm Homberg in the 17th century that under certain conditions light could darken certain chemicals were key to the evolution of photography.
 
By the late 17th century Camera Obscura existed small enough to be transported around in sedans and the first basic cameras (although unable to fix an image) were being used by artists in Europe.

The birth of modern photography

The birth of modern photography as we know it though really began at the start of the 19th century  in 1816. Joseph Niepce began experimenting with Camera Obscura and photosensitive paper. 
 
In 1826 Joseph Niepce created the fist permanent image. Taken in bright sunshine over an eight hour exposure period from a french window. Joseph Niepce had been inspired by an earlier discovery in 1724 by Johann Schulz that a chalk and silver compound grew darker when exposed to light. He had developed his own compounds based om Johann Schulz discovery.
At the same time Louis Daguerre was also experimenting with fixing an image and in 1829 the two men formed a partnership to work on fixing an image based on the method Joseph Niepce was using.  
Joseph Niepce died in 1833 leaving all his notes to Louis Daguerre who continued to experiment. He discovered while experimenting with silver that exposing silver to iodine vapor prior to light exposure and then treating the sliver plate with mercury after exposure  would create a fixed image. The image could then be fixed more permanently by soaking the silver plate in a salt bath..
In 1839 after continual experimenting and tweaking Daguerre announced his new process, a coating of silver compound on a copper plate, to the world. Daguerre called the process the Daguerreotype naming it after himself. Daguerre and Niepce's son then sold the patent rights to the french government and created a document detailing the process. It was at this point that the Daguerreotype entered the public domain and began to grow in popularity.
 
In England William Henry Fox Talbot, spurred on by Daguerre's publication, had been experimenting for several years with a similar process. and in 1840 Fox Talbot patented  his Calotype process. He coated sheets of paper with silver chloride to create intermediate negative images from which positive prints could be created.

Between 1850 and 1900 the Daguerreotype became very popular with people of the middle classes Photographers in Europe and North America began to open studios to the public based on the Daguerreotype process
Also during this time in 1851 Frederick Scot Archer invented the Collodin process. A process that was to become much cheaper than the Daguerreotype allowing unlimited picture reproductions from a negative / positive wet plate. 

The first colour photograph

The first colour photograph in photography history, a tartan ribbon, was created by James Clerk Maxwell in 1861. However colour photographs were not possible for the masses at this time. When it became clear that multiple reproductions were made possible from a single plat the Daguerreotype started to have limited appeal.
 
In 1871 an English doctor named Richard Leach Maddox created an emulsion of silver bromide and gelatin for coating onto glass. Thus the first dry plate method was created and commercial manufacture began in 1878.

Kodak Brownie Tarfet 6 - 20 box camera

Kodak Brownie Tarfet 6 - 20 box camera
 
The twenty years between 1880 and 1900 were dominated by a young American named George Eastman. Mr Eastman pioneered the first Kodak camera and manufactured a photographic emulsion contained in a dry gel that was coated onto rolls of paper. This was the birth of photographic film.
 
Photographic film then proceeded to take over from the dry plate. In 1990 the BOX BROWNIE camera was put into mass production. Photography had now well and trully arrived for the masses
Photograph by Kevin Stanchfield from Valencia, CA. licence link

Modern day photography history

The start of the twentieth century saw numerous developments and innovations to photography including flash bulbs, twin lens reflex cameras and Polaroid to name a few. Two of the biggest photographic companies of modern times Nikon and Fuji were founded at this time. Colour photography became possible to the masses in 1907 when when colour plates known as Autochromes were shown to the world.
 
We hope that you enjoyed our brief account of photography history.