A History of Photography

The word photography was derived from the Greek terms “photos” which means light and “graphein” which means to draw. Such word was introduced by a scientist named Sir John F.W. Herschel sometime in 1839. Photography refers to the method of documenting images through the action of light, or associated radiation on a susceptible material.

The 1st Photograph

One summer day in the year 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce produced the earliest photographic image through a camera obscura. Earlier than Niepce, people utilized the camera obscura to view or draw purposes and not to produce photos. The heliographs or sun prints of Joseph Nicephore Niepce were the prototype for today’s photos, through letting light draw the image.

Niepce put an engraving onto a metal plate enveloped in bitumen and exposed it to the light. The shadowy sections of the engraving obstructed light while the whiter sections allowed light to react with the metal plate’s chemicals. When Niepce put the metal plate in a solvent, an image gradually from invisible appeared. However, it required 8 hours of light exposure before Niepce’s photograph to appear and soon face away.

Camera Obscura

Prior to the creation of photography, people were already knowledgeable about the principles of how it ultimately got to work. They can process the image on a piece of paper or on the wall. However, printing was impossible at such time because preserving light turned out a hard task than projecting it. The tool which people utilized for processing photos was known as camera obscura. A Latin phrase which means the dark room, it has been a process around for centuries before photography came to life.

According to speculations, camera obscura was developed about 13 to 14th centuries. Nonetheless, there’s a manuscript by Hassan ibn Hassan—an Arabian scholar—way back 10th centuries ago that describes the principles on which the camera obscura works and on which analog photography is based nowadays.

Camera obscura is fundamentally a dark, closed box with a hole on the side. Such hole needs to be small so that the camera obscura will properly work. It works through optical laws which means it uses the light that comes through a small hole in order to create an image on the surface which it meets, for instance, the wall of the box. The image is reflected upside down.

The Advent of Modern Photography

Louis Daguerre was the genius behind the creation of the 1st practical process of photography. He collaborated with Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1829 in order to improve the process which Niepce had developed. After many years of experimentation and after Niepce’s death in 1839, Daguerre invented a more effective and convenient method of photography which he named after himself—the daguerreotype.

The process of Daguerre is known to “fix” the image onto a silver-plated copper. He refined the silver and coated it with iodine so that a surface that’s sensitive to light will be created. After which, he place the plate in a camera and exposed it for a couple of minutes. Right after the image was colored by light, Daguerre washed the plate in silver chloride. Such process produced a lasting image, once not exposed to light.

Today, one of the biggest growing hobbies across the globe is photography. Its hardware alone makes up a multi-billion dollar industry.