History of Photography ( Part 1)

(PART 1)


Just How Did Photography Get It's Start? 

Long ago, people were using a camera-like device to make pictures. This was called the camera obscura. “Camera” is the Latin word for “chamber.” “Obscura” means “dark.” This early ancestor of today’s camera was actually a dark room with a tiny hole in one wall. Light came through the hole. It produced an image, on the opposite wall, of people or objects outside the hole.

For about 500 years, the camera obscura was used mostly for watching eclipses of the sun. Using it, people did not have to look directly at the sun. Then artists and mapmakers realized that the camera obscura could be very small wooden huts that could be carried from place to place—were developed.

In time, the camera obscura was reduced to a small box much like a modern camera. A lens was placed in the hole where the light entered. The Lens helped to concentrate the light rays. There also was a diaphragm to control the amount of light coming in. The back of the box was a translucent screen. (Something translucent lets light pass through, but we cannot see through it.) A sheet of paper could be placed over the screen and the image traced on the paper.

By the late 1600s, the development of the camera obscura was well advanced. But it was more than a century before people learned how to capture the image made by the camera. A German doctor, Johann Schulze, made the discovery that finally led to the film used today. In 1727, Schulze found that sunlight would blacken chalk that had been treated with a solution of silver nitrate. Modern photography is based on Schulze’s discovery that light affects certain silver compounds.

The first successful photographs were made by a French inventor, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, about 1826. He succeeded in capturing an image that did not immediately fade when light struck it. He placed the exposed metal plate (coated with an asphalt compound) in a solution that brought out the picture. The solution also washed away all the compounds that had not yet been exposed to the light. In other words, he fixed the picture.

In 1829, Niepce became a partner of Louis Daguerre, a French theatrical designer. Before they had finished improving a developing process, Niepce died. Daguerre continued working on the process. In 1839, he revealed what became the first widely successful system of photography. His pictures were called daguerreotypes. Each was unique—one of a kind. There was no negative, and no prints could be made.

At about the same time, in England, William Henry Fox Talbot invented the first practical process that produced a negative from which prints could be made. The process—called the calotype—began with a negative image on paper. It was then printed on another sensitized piece of paper to produce a positive print. 

Photography (part 2)

History of Photography ( Part 1)

History of Photography ( Part 1)

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