The History of Photography

Any science or art was once born, but over time developed, improved and formed into new branches. So the same happened with photography which was the result of a synthesis of science, namely the development of photographic equipment, and art. In this article we will talk about the main milestones in the development of the great art of photography.

The word photography itself came from the ancient Greek words "light" and "write", and means drawing with light. That is the ability to create and save images using a photosensitive material (or matrix) in the photo camera. This will be the description of the photography process. If we give a description of photography as an art form, the definition will be as follows: the creative process of searching and creating an artistic composition, which in turn is determined by the vision of the photographer himself. This term appeared in 1839.


So, the history of photography

In 1826, the French Joseph Niepce made the first ever photograph "View from the window at Le Gras", obtained using the "camera obscura" (dark room) on a tin plate covered with a thin layer of Syrian asphalt. This photo shows a view from the window of Niepce's workshop and it was created during 8 hours, continuously being in direct sunlight.


Joseph Nieps 1826г
Almost at the same time, another French, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, was working on obtaining a stable image. In 1829, teaming up with Niepce and receiving all the detailed information about his previous experiments, Louis Daguerre began to actively work on improving this process. And in 1837 he achieved success and received an image with exposition of 30 minutes, using table salt as a fixer. This method Daguerre called "daguerreotype".

On January 7, 1839, Daguerre's invention was presented to the Chamber of Deputies and is now considered the Birthday of photography. After that fame and success came to Daguerre. And the name of Joseph Niepce was almost forgotten. Here you can read more about process of "daguerreotype" Daguerre and Niepce invited.


At the same time William Henry Talbot, an Englishman, worked on creating a stable image and in 1839 he invented his own way of obtaining a negative image called "talbotipia". The main difference between this process and daguerreotype is a special way of preparing photosensitive paper.

Well, the history of the development of photography does not stand still and in 1850, Louis Brancar Ervard finds a new type of photo paper - albumide, which was later used as the main one until the end of the century. In 1851, the French Gustave Le Grey invented wax negatives, which in turn replaced the talbotipia. This innovation has greatly simplified the process of creating images outside, on nature.

William Henry Talbot
In 1847, a new step in the development of photography begins. This is the era of glass negatives. Claude Felix Abel Nieps reached the first results in this process. And in 1851, the Englishman Frederick Scott Archer developed a wet colloid process. Due to the legal insecurity of this process, it quickly became widespread and photography became very popular.

In 1861, the English physicist James Maxwell was able to obtain the first color image, which was the result of three pictures of the same subject with different filters (red, blue and green). The wider usage of color photography became possible due to Adolf Mita. He invented sensitizers that make the photographic plate more sensitive to other areas of the spectrum. An even greater contribution to the development of this type of photography was made by our compatriot Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, who developed technologies to reduce exposure. His clear, high-quality color shots served as a reference for a long time.
James Maxwell 1861 год. 3-color ribbon bow on black velvet
Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, around 1903-1916
Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, around 1903-1916
Meanwhile, progress does not stand still and every year scientists improve the process of creating photo images. So in 1872 the Englishman Richard Leach Maddox announced that he created a dry colloid plate.

In 1876, a comprehensive approach to the study of the photographic processes began. Driffield and Harter in England investigated the relationship between exposure time and the amount of silver in the film. In 1879, the first production of special halogen-silver gelatin-based photo paper was created, which has become the main element in the production of paper for photography and is still used in industrial production nowadays.

In 1880, the American banker George Eastman, after his trip to England creates his company in America under the name "Eastman Dry Records Company", which was later renamed to KODAK in 1888.

In 1884 Eastman got a patent for roller film on a paper substrate and cassette, which was a great innovation in the photography process. In 1888, his company received a patent for a portable camera, which used the previously patented roller film. And already in 1889, the mass production of movie cameras begins.

Kodak 1889
Finally we coming closer to our understanding of photo cameras. In 1911, Oscar Barnak came to work in the German company Leitz, who made a huge contribution to the further development of photography. Thanks to his efforts and researches in 1925, a new type of small-format camera called Leica I (the name came from the merger of the two words Leitz and Camera) went on sale, which was working on a standard film.

In 1932, the world's first small-format Leica II camera became publicly available. Since about the 1930s, color photography has gained widespread acceptance thanks to Kodak, the first company to release Kodachrome color reversible film. In 1942, the company began producing Kodacolor film, which became very popular among professionals and photography enthusiasts. These photographs you can see in the Anonymous Project.

In 1948, Polaroid made a breakthrough in photography by launching the Polaroid Land 95, which opens the era of instant photography. In 1975, Kodak engineer Steven Sassoon designed and introduced the first digital camera to the public. The matrix in his camera had a resolution of 0.1 mega pixels.

The growing public interest in photography required a more convenient model, and in 1988, FUJI introduced really portable model of the FUJI DS-1P digital camera.


Throughout the development of photography, many photographers turned it into a true art, each in its own time and in its own era. Nowadays we can use the truly wide capabilities of the created cameras, someone prefers to shoot on the newest cameras, others quite successfully shoot on analog cameras.