What are the origins of photography?

Photography dates from the early 1800s, or around 1826 or so. It was invented in France by Nicephore Niepce.

Photography was later perfected by different photographers, mainly in Britain, France and the United States.

Some key dates in the evolution of photography:

  • Around 1600, the Camera Obscura (dark chamber) is fitted with a lens.
  • In 1727, a German, J. H Shulze, discovers that silver salts are light sensitive.
  • In 1822, creation of the first photographic camera.
  • 1826 Nicéphore Niépce obtains the first real stable photograph, made on a tin plate (metal), coated with bitumen of Judea (gum), sensitized to light using silver salts and chemically fixed after an extremely long exposure to light of 8-10 hours!
  • In 1835 the Frenchman Louis Daguerre made the first “Daguerreotype”, a type of photograph made on a silver plate. The same year, Englishman William Fox Talbot managed to obtain images, using paper sensitized with silver chloride.
  • In 1869, the French Charles Cros and Louis Ducos du Hauron invent, independently of one another, processes for color photography.
  • In 1888, the American George Eastman invents the first easy to use film camera, the famous “Kodak”.
  • In 1904, in France, the Lumière brothers invent the “Autochrome Plate”, which directly provides color photos.
  • In 1924, in Germany, invention of the “Leica” camera, the first camera using the 24 x 36mm format film, the now famous 35mm format.
  • In 1935, Americans Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky invent the Kodachrome film and process, for obtaining very good quality color slides.
  • In 1936, in Germany, creation of the Agfacolor color film, a Kodachrome competitor.
  • In 1942, in the USA, A. Rott invents instant photography, the “Polaroid” process.
  • In 1981, design of the first electronic camera.


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