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History of Photography It could be said that photography was not “invented”… but that it evolved over time.
The word “Photography” was first used in 1839. It was coined by Sir John Herschel. It comes from the Greek words “phos” meaning LIGHT and “graphein” which mean TO WRITE.
The pinhole camera or the CAMERA OBSCUREA (Dark Chamber) can be traced back to the Greeks and Chinese as early as the 4th centuries. • Artist used the CAMERA OBSCUREA to create more accurate drawings/paintings.
In the 1500s many artists, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, used the "camera obscura" to help them draw pictures. A person or object would be outside the dark room and their image was reflected on a piece of paper and the artist would trace it.
The camera obscura was made portable by the 1700s by putting it in a box with a pinhole on one side and a glass screen on the other. Light coming through this pinhole projectedan image onto the glass screen, where the artist could easily trace it by hand. Artists soon discovered that they could obtain an even sharper image by using asmall lens in place of the pinhole.
In 1727 a German professor, Johann Heinrich Schulze, observed that silver salts darkened when exposed to light. But the idea of making pictures using this information did not occur to him. That invention required the talents of a later generation of scientists.
The birth of photography happened in 1826 when a French scientist, Joseph NicephoreNiepce, put a metal plate coated with bitumen (a tarlike material) in a camera obscura. The Bitumen would harden when exposed to light. The unhardened material was washed away making a negative image which was then printed using ink. His first photograph was latter destroyed. His earliest remaining photograph he did by placing his camera obscura facing his house for eight hours.
DAGUERREOTYPE • Made by Louis Daguerre in 1835 • The first practical photographic process • The Process • Highly polished silver-plated copper sheet exposed to iodine vapor. • The Latent image would appear by heating the sheet with hot mercury fumes. (Latent Image means you can’t see the image until it is developed) • Remaining light-sensitive particles were removed “fixed” with a hot salt solution.
Pros of the Process • Greater sensitivity to light • Shorter exposure times 3-15 min • Clearer images • Cons of the Process • Very expensive • Complicated • Images would oxidize in the air, must be kept in a sealed case.
Robert Cornelius, self-portrait, Oct. or Nov. 1839, approximate quarter plate daguerreotype. The back reads, "The first light picture ever taken." This self-portrait is the first photographic portrait image of a human ever produced
People had to sit for 6 to 10 minutes for an exposure to be made. • Bright Sun • Head clamp
One sitter recalled the ordeal: • "(He sat) for eight minutes, with strong sunlight shining on his face and tears trickling down his cheeks while...the operator promenaded the room with watch in hand, calling out the time every five seconds, until the fountains of his eyes were dry."
CALOTYPE & TALBOTYPE • William Fox Talbot of England. 1835 • The Process • Paper coated with silver chloride. • The paper negative was waxed to make it translucent. • Another sheet of sensitized paper was placed under the waxed negative and exposed with a bright light. • When the right density was reached, the paper was fixed, washed, and dried. • Duplicate prints could be made.
Talbot’s process of making a positive print from a negative is the basis of modern photography. • Pros • Could make multiple prints from a negative • Cons • The prints were not as good as the daguerreotypes. • The lower quality was caused by the grain or texture of the paper negative. This defect was transmitted to the print.
Window in the South Gallery of Lacock Abbey made from the oldest photographic negative in existenceHenry Fox Talbot 1835
WET PLATE/WET COLLODION • Invented by Frederick Scott Archer, and English sculptor in 1851. • The Process. • Glass coated with light-sensitive sliver salts (Collodion was a plastic-like substance containing potassium iodide) • When the collodion had dried to a “tacky” state, a bath in silver nitrate sensitized it to light. • The wet plate was loaded into the camera and exposed immediately. • Exposed plates also had to be developed, fixed, and washed immediately. • If the colodion dried before the sequence was completed, it became water-resistant and could not be developed.
Pros • Created a more stable and detailed negative (Unlimited Prints). • Could record fine detail and register slight differences in tone (Sharper). • Cons • Had to be developed quickly before the emulsion dried. Could only do one exposure at a time, then immediately develop. • In the field this meant having taking a portable darkroom everywhere with you.
This photograph shows a typical field setup of the Civil War era. The wagon carried chemicals, glass plates, and negatives - the buggy used as a field darkroom.
DRY PLATE PROCESS • 1871 Richard L. Maddox, a British physician • The Process • Replace the “wet” collodion coat with a thin coating of gelatin and silver nitrate. • The gelatin/nitrate was dryed and retained its sensitivity to light for some time.
DRY PLATE PROCESS • In 1879, the dry plate was invented, a glass negative plate with a dried gelatin emulsion. Dry plates could be stored for a period of time. Photographers no longer needed portable darkrooms and could now hire technicians to develop their photographs. Dry processes absorbed light quickly and so rapidly that the hand-held camera was now possible.
Pros • The plate taken could be developed anytime after exposure. • The cumbersome, portable darkroom was no longer needed. • This advancement make the commercial manufacture of photographic plates possible. • Cons • Still big and bulky. • Still not available to the average person.
In 1888 George Eastman introduced a 100-shot box camera (The Kodak Brownie). • The camera and film were returned to Eastman for processing. • The camera and the new prints were then returned. The camera was also reloaded, ready to take another 100 prints. • Eastman launched the sale of the camera with the slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest.” • Eastman also introduced his trademark name Kodak. Kodak was a word that Eastman came up with. It started and ended with his favorite letter K.
In 1889, Eastman replaced the paper backing with a clear, flexible, celluloid film. • Prints were easier to make because the gelatin did not have to be stripped from the backing to make the print.
Mr. Eastman wanted everybody to be able to take photographs. He worked hard to develop a camera that everybody could afford to buy. He did it in 1900. It was the Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera. It cost $1.00. Now everyone could take photographs, not just professional photographers.
Photograph taken with a Brownie camera. Notice how the photograph is round, just like the opening in the camera. The Brownie The Kodak Brownie was the first one time user camera (kind of like a disposable camera today).
Color Photographs • People had tried to make color photographs since 1860. It wasn't until 1906 that a film sensitive to all colors called "panchromatic film" was produced. You had to take three separate negatives and then use a special viewer so you could see all three slides layed on top of each other. The first color plates were invented in 1907 by Auguste and Louis Lumiere. They named it Autochrome. The colors appeared in delicate pastel.
Birth of “motion” pictures • Leland Stanford unwittingly started a chain of events that contributed to the development of motion pictures. To settle a wager regarding the position of a trotting horse's legs, he sent for Eadweard Muybridge, a British photographer who had recently been acclaimed for his photographs of Yosemite.
Although Muybridge initially considered the task impossible, he made history when he arranged 12 cameras alongside a race track. Each was fitted with a shutter working at a speed he claimed to be "less than the two-thousandth part of a second." Strings attached to electric switches were stretched across the track; the horse, rushing past, breasted the strings and broke them, one after the other; the shutters were released by an electromagnetic control, and a series of negatives made.
Though the photographs were hardly more than silhouettes, they clearly showed that the feet of the horse were all off the ground at one phase of the gallop. Moreover, to the surprise of the world, the feet were bunched together under the belly. None of the horses photographed showed the "hobbyhorse attitude" - front legs stretched forward and hind legs backward -so traditional in painting. The photos were widely published in America and Europe.
The Scientific American printed eighteen drawings from Muybridge's photographs on the first page of its October 19, 1878 issue. Readers were invited to paste the pictures on strips and to view them in the popular toy known as the zoetrope, a precursor of motion pictures. It was an open drum with slits in its side, mounted horizontally on a spindle so it could be twirled. Drawings showing successive phases of action placed inside the drum and viewed through the slits were seen one after the other, so quickly that the images merged in the mind to produce the illusion of motion.
The flashbulb was invented in the 1930. • Polaroid instant photographs in 1947 by Edwin Land • 1986 Fuji introduced the disposable camera • 1984 Canon demonstrated the first digital electronic still camera
Digital Photography How it came to be
A step towards Digital • Television plays a part in the development of digital photography. • In 1952 the first video tape recorders were used to record TV programs. Before this, most television was either live, or was a broadcast movie.
With video tape an image was recorded, not as an image in itself, but as a coded signal (Electrical Impulses “Digital”) onto magnetic tape. Later that coded tape was run through a decoding machine (I.E. a video tape player) and the machine converted the coded signal back into pictures.
Why is video tape so important? • It is the start of recording an image in as a coded signal