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Photography . Colby Gust . Camera Obscura. Camera = Latin for “room” Obscura = Latin for “dark”.

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Colby Gust

camera obscura
Camera Obscura

Camera = Latin for “room”

Obscura = Latin for “dark”

The earliest mention of this type of device was by the Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti (5th century BC). He formally recorded the creation of an inverted image formed by light rays passing through a pinhole into a darkened room. He called this darkened room a "collecting place" or the "locked treasure room."


1840 Alexander S. Wolcott.invented a Daguerreotype camera that used a telescope-like mirror instead of a lens to concentrate light on the photographic plate. Wolcott licensed his camera design to a certain Richard Beard, who opened the first portrait studio in Europe. This design is also important because it is considered to be the first American photographic patent.


1849 Sir David Brewster introduces a refracting lenticular stereoscope using convex lenses instead of mirrors. This was a significant improvement over Wheatstones invention of stereography. It was a portable box-type stereoscope. On the left is the orginal design and on the right a modern version.


1853 Thomas Ottewill creates a compact folding Camera intended for the military. This was one of the first compact folding cameras ever made.