A Short History of Photography

Since its invention, photography has always been linked with memory: photographs recall family, friends and special moments, transcending time and space to create an emotional bond between subject and viewer.

The name "Photography" was first used by Sir John Herschel , who first used the term in 1839, the year the photographic process became public. The word is derived from the Greek words for light and writing.

The first successful picture was produced in June/July 1827 by Niépce, using material that hardened on exposure to light. This picture required an exposure of eight hours.

The earliest paper negative we know of was produced in August 1835; it depicts the now famous window at Lacock Abbey (see pic. below), taken by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877).

However, not all people welcomed this exciting invention; some pundits viewed it in quite sinister terms. A newspaper report in the Leipzig City Advertiser stated:

"The wish to capture evanescent reflections is not only impossible... but the mere desire alone, the will to do so, is blasphemy. God created man in His own image, and no man- made machine may fix the image of God. Is it possible that God should have abandoned His eternal principles, and allowed a Frenchman... to give to the world an invention of the Devil?"

Some artists saw in photography a threat to their livelihood, and some even prophesied that painting would cease to exist.

The rest as they say is history!

35mm Film
Window at Lacock Abbey (1835)

History of the Digital Camera


Digital camera technology evolved from the same technology that records television images.

In 1951, the first video tape recorder (VTR) captured live images from television cameras by converting the information into electrical impulses (digital) and saving the information onto magnetic tape.

By 1956, VTR technology was perfected and in common use by the television industry. Both television/video cameras and digital cameras use a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) to sense light color and intensity.

During the 1960s, NASA used digital signals to map the surface of the moon (sending digital images back to earth). Computer technology was also advancing at this time and NASA used computers to enhance the images that the space probes were sending. Digital imaging was also used by the USA in spy satellites.

Texas Instruments patented a film-less electronic camera in 1972, the first to do so. In August, 1981, Sony released the Sony Mavica electronic still camera, the camera which was the first commercial electronic camera. Images were recorded onto a mini disc and then put into a video reader that was connected to a television monitor or color printer. However, the early Mavica cannot be considered a true digital camera even though it started the digital camera revolution. It was a video camera that took video freeze-frames.

Since the mid-1970s, Kodak has invented several solid-state image sensors that "converted light to digital pictures" for professional and home consumer use.

In 1986, Kodak scientists invented the world's first megapixel sensor, capable of recording 1.4 million pixels that could produce a 5x7-inch digital photo-quality print.

In 1987, Kodak released seven products for recording, storing, manipulating, transmitting and printing electronic still video images.


Digital Memory Cards

 

In 1990, Kodak developed the Photo CD system and proposed "the first worldwide standard for defining color in the digital environment of computers and computer peripherals."

In 1991, Kodak released the first professional digital camera system (DCS), aimed at photojournalists. It was a Nikon F-3 camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3 megapixel sensor.

The first digital cameras for the consumer-level market that worked with a home computer via a serial cable were the Apple QuickTake 100 camera (February 17 , 1994), the Kodak DC40 camera (March 28, 1995), the Casio QV-11 (with LCD monitor, late 1995), and Sony's Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera (1996).

However, Kodak entered into an aggressive co-marketing campaign to promote the DC40 and to help introduce the idea of digital photography to the public. Kinko's and Microsoft both collaborated with Kodak to create digital image-making software workstations and kiosks which allowed customers to produce Photo CD Discs and photographs, and add digital images to documents. IBM collaborated with Kodak in making an internet-based network image exchange. Hewlett-Packard was the first company to make color inkjet printers that complemented the new digital camera images.

The marketing worked and today digital cameras are everywhere.

Canon Digital Camera
Kodak Photo CD

 

 

CHAPTERS
 
About The archive
Why Digitize Old Photographs? 
Icons of The 21st Century

 

 


About The Site   The Academic Site   The Dormitory Site   School Songs   
Eminent Old Boys   1876 - 2002   MOBA 78   Links