Where would we be without photography?
Elaine Weeks snaps a Kodak Brownie Fiesta
Rv camera circa 1960s
to imagine a world without photographs. Let alone movies, videos,
or t.v. Since this issue is comprised mostly of cool old photos,
I took a Kodak moment to reflect on photography’s origins.
better place to look than the internet? I googled the phrase "history
of photography" and was instantly connected with 2,950,001
links. Fortunately, I only needed to look at a few of them to find
what I needed.
you didn’t know that the word photography is derived from
the Greek words for light and writing. Must be where that phrase
comes from, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
was not invented earlier than the 1830s because that is when two
distinct scientific processes were put together. The first of these
processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been in
existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated
1519, of a Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same
period its use as an aid to drawing was being advocated.
second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography
was invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colours
are bleached in the sun, but they had made little distinction between
heat, air and light. The first successful picture was produced in
summer 1827 by Nicéphore Niépce, using material that
hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure
of eight hours. (Can you imagine having to sit still that long!
I guess he didn’t take any pictures of his kids.)
January 4, 1829 Niépce agreed to go into partnership with
Louis Daguerre. Niépce died four years later, but Daguerre
continued to experiment. Soon he discovered a way to develop photographic
plates, a process which greatly reduced the exposure time from eight
hours to half an hour. He also discovered that an image could be
made permanent by immersing it in salt.
that time some artists saw in photography a threat to their livelihood
and some even prophesied that painting would cease to exist!
are some noteworthy milestones:
George Eastman, age 24, sets up Eastman Dry Plate Company in Rochester,
New York. First half-tone photograph appears in a daily newspaper,
the New York Graphic.
Jacob Riis publishes “How the Other Half Lives”, images
of tenament life in New York City.
Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera introduced.
George Eastman, aged 77, writes suicide note – "My work
is done. Why wait?" – and shoots himself.
Kodak introduces disk camera, using an 8x11mm frame (the same as
in the Minox spy camera)
Fuji introduces the disposable camera
The digital camera is introduced. (I’m guessing here as for
some reason I couldn’t find out the exact year.) We purchased
our digital camera in 1999 – we can literally take quality
photos up to deadline without having to run out and process them.
We’ve taken about 13,000 pictures to date with our digital
far we’ve come since 1827!
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for the Month – The Value of Time
realize the value of one minute, ask a person who has missed the
train, bus or plane.
realize the value of one-second, ask a person who has survived an
realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who has won
a silver medal in the Olympics.
(from one of the numerous anonymous e.mails
I get every month)
here to view our 2nd Annual Photo Gallery!
here to go back to the home page.