Photography was invented in the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that it became a widely used means of expression.
Checkout this video:
1839: The Year Photography Was Invented
On February 19, 1839, French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype process. The first public exhibition of this new invention was on August 19, 1839, in Paris. Shortly after, the invention made its way to the United States . . .
The History of Photography
The history of photography has roots in remote antiquity with the discovery of two critical principles, ie the camera obscura image projection and the fact that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light. In the mid-19th century, new scientific discoveries led to the development of photography as we know it today.
The first permanent photograph was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. But it wasn’t until 1837 that English scientist William Henry Fox Talbot created a negative-positive process to make prints from a photographic negative. This “calotype” process produced photos with a glossy surface. French artist Louis Daguerre refined this process, which he announced publicly in 1839. He called his process “daguerreotype.”
How Photography Changed the World
Photography has been around since the early 1800s, but it was not until the latter part of the century that it became accessible to the general public. The invention of the camera allowed people to capture moments in time and share them with others. This newfound ability to document and share life’s events quickly changed the way people saw the world.
No longer were people limited to their own experiences and memories; they could now see and learn about things that were happening all over the globe. This had a profound impact on society, as it opened up new possibilities for communication, education, and commerce. It also gave rise to new forms of art, as photographers began to explore the creative potential of their medium.
In short, photography changed the world by giving people a new way to see it.
The Evolution of Photography
The evolution of photography has been marked by a series of landmark inventions and technical improvements. In the mid-19th century, two inventors independently devised systems for making photographs on glass plates coated with light-sensitive chemicals. Prior to that time, photographers had been limited to using drawings or paintings to record their subjects.
The first permanent photograph was made in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Niépce took eight hours to expose an image onto a pewter plate coated with Bitumen of Judea, a tar-like substance that hardened when exposed to sunlight. The result was rudimentary, but it demonstrated that Photography as we know it today was possible.
The Birth of Photography
The word “photography” was first used by the scientist Sir John Herschel in 1839. It is derived from the Greek words for “light” and “writing.” However, the history of photography actually goes back much further than that.
The first “camera obscura” was used by the Chinese philosopher Mo Ti in the 5th century BC. A camera obscura is a dark room with a small hole in one wall. Light comes into the room through the hole and an image is projected onto the opposite wall.
In the 11th century, Arab scientists were using a version of the camera obscura to study optics and make precise drawings of the stars. By the 13th century, European scientists were also using this device.
In 1614, Johannes Kepler published a book called “Optics” which described how a camera obscura could be used to project an image onto paper. This was an important step in the development of photography because it showed that an image could be recorded on paper.
The first person to successfully capture an image on paper was Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. He used a process called “heliography,” which involved coating a metal plate with a light-sensitive substance and exposing it to sunlight. The resulting image was shadowy and faint, but it was still an important step in the history of photography.
The next important step came in 1835 when Niépce teamed up with Louis Daguerre, another French scientist. Together they developed a process called “daguerreotype,” which produced much clearer images than heliography. In 1839, Daguerre announced this process to the world and photography became available to anyone who wanted to try it.
Early Photography: The Daguerreotype and Calotype
Photography was invented in the early 1800s with two different processes, the daguerreotype and the calotype.
The daguerreotype, created by French artist and chemist Louis Daguerre in 1837, was the first practical photography process. The daguerreotype produced a one-of-a-kind image on a sheet of silver-coated copper.
English William Henry Fox Talbot developed the calotype process in 1841. The calotype used paper sensitized with silver iodide, which could be mass-produced and stored, making it less expensive and more convenient than the daguerreotype.
The First Photographs
The first photographs were taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. He used a process called heliography, in which an image was exposed onto a metal plate coated with a light-sensitive substance. This primitive form of photography required an exposure time of eight hours, which limited the subjects that could be captured. In 1829, Niépce entered into a partnership with Louis Daguerre, who later refined the process and shortened the exposure time to just a few minutes. This new method, known as daguerreotypy, quickly became popular and was used throughout the 19th century.
The Rise of Amateur Photography
The exact date and year photography was invented is often debated amongst historians. Some say it was 1839, the date Daguerre announced his Daguerreotype process. Others claim it’s 1826, the year Joseph Nicéphore Niépce created the world’s first heliograph.
However, many experts agree that photography as we know it began in the early 1800s with two distinct processes: the Daguerreotype and the Calotype.
The Daguerreotype, created by French artist and inventor Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839, was the first commercially viable photographic process. It produced detailed images on polished silver plates that could be reproduced multiple times.
The Calotype, developed by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1841, used paper coated with silver iodide to create negative images. These negatives could then be used to make positive prints on sensitized paper – a process Talbot famously called “photogenic drawing.”
The two processes quickly gained popularity throughout Europe and America. By 1850, there were over 100 daguerreotype studios operating in the United States alone. And by 1860, amateur photography was a common pastime among wealthy Victorians.
Professional Photography Takes Off
In the late 1830s, photography was invented and quickly began replacing Daguerreotypes, the expensive and time-consuming process that it had previously competed with. Professional photography studios began opening up all over Europe and the United States, and by 1900 there were an estimated 10,000 professional photographers in America alone.
Although photography was first developed in the late 1830s, it did not gain widespread popularity until the early twentieth century. At that time, new developments in camera technology and film production made photography more accessible to the general public. Today, photography is used for a wide variety of purposes, from artistic expression to documenting important events.