During old times sculptures are used to replicate the image of influential and important people in history. Later paintings came in and eventually photography. As photography came into the picture, significant events in history are documented using a camera. However, during those times, cameras are not available for everyone for it is not mass reproduced and are expensive. Let’s walk to its history and find out how it evolves to supremacy.
In 400 BC, Mo-ti, the founder of Mohism, attributed the basic concept of a pinhole camera. However in 350 BC, Aristotle used the principle of a pinhole camera by observing the sun during a solar eclipse with the use of the gaps between leaves of trees and holes in a sieve. In 1000 AD, Ibn Al-Hytham Al Hazen Alhazen studied and invented the very first pinhole camera which is also called as the “Camera Obscura”. In 1050 AD, Shen Kuo experimented with the camera obscura and applied geometrical and quantitative attributes.
During the 13th century in England, Roger Bacon described the use of a pinhole camera as a safe way to observe a solar eclipse. It was used in study in 1485 by Leonardo da Vinci which provided its first detailed description in his Codex Atlanticus. It was Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer who first used the term “camera obscura” in 1604. Johann Zahn, published a book (Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telecopium) in 1685 which contains the descriptions and diagrams of both the camera obscura and of the magic lantern. In 17th century, Johannes Vermeer, a Dutch master made used of it as an aid to painting. And in 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce produced the first photographic image through bitumen-coated metal plate using a pinhole camera which he called heliograph. Louis Daguerre improved the process which was called “daguerreotypes” which opened the age of modern photography. In 1890’s the camera became popular when it was used for entertainment and educational purposes. Sir David Brewster, Sir William Crookes, John Spiller, William de Wilveleslie Abney and Flinders Petrie used the camera to document their Egyptian archaeological digs.
During 1880s George Eastman, an American put flexible roll film and in 1889, he introduced the first Kodak camera to the market. That was the beginning of mass-market photography. From there on, more photographers conduct experiments and explore new potentials to define photography as an art form. By discovering new aspects, new generation of photographers turn away from pictorial style and practiced the new form which is called “straight photography’. This new form was believed to truly express photography’s unique vision and reveals a deep awareness of “the spirit of the place”. It was then when the camera is used for documenting war, photomontage, social reform and geographical survey of territories.
Before World War I, Oskar Barnack in Germany who’s working as a technician in E. Leitz company, invented a miniature camera that used perforated strips of 35- mm film. In 1924, the miniature camera was introduced in the market as the Leica. Although many accepted it as toy ill-equipped for serious work, some were delighted to use it because of its compact size, and its ability to produce up to 36 exposures made it more convenient. Then after continual improvement, this camera became dominant to both professionals and amateurs, especially with its single-lens reflex form. After great discoveries, the highly dangerous flash powder was supplanted by flashbulbs in 1930. Electronic flash units are made miniaturized to fit into a pocket camera.
In 1859, colour photography was established by James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist. He demonstrated that all colours can be reduced through combinations of the primary colours. In 1907, two Frenchmen successfully applied the principle of Maxwell. Brothers. Auguste and Louis Lumiere, released in the market their autochrome glass plates. Then in 1930 sharper colour films (integral tripack) were introduce which used dyes instead of grains. Studies and experiments in colored films did not stop, until Kodachrome became famous for the sharpest and rich colour films. And in 1947, Edwin H. Land, an American, invented the instant or self-processing photography, Polaroid as it was introduced. Its colored version became available in the market in 1963.
Since then photography was not only limited to arts, entertainment, and educational tool. It was then used as a tool for communication and now that it has became digital, it can be a hobby or line of profession. Making it digital made it more accessible, convenient and opened great possibilities to many. Especially when equipped with SanDisk SD Card 2GB or more memory storage, a photographer become limitless to its exploration. Having a memory storage chip makes it cheaper and easy for photographers to capture beautiful subjects.