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The History of Photography

The History of Photography !!

Its quite funny to see videos and documentaries made on photographers in the earlier times. Those were the days when the camera was mostly a huge bulky device almost as big as today’s computer. The photographer had to duck under a sheet which covered the camera sitting atop a huge tripod. And as soon as the photographer clicked a picutre, the vicinity of the camera had an exploding effect complte with fumes and smoke. Modern photography is as different from the early days as night is to day. In old movies, spies were shown with handheld small camera which were considered sci-fi. But now, even pen cameras are easily available and cheap. Almost everyone has a camera enable smartphone which can take photographs almost anywhere and anytime.

The history of photography, the humble story of its origin to its current technological flair is a story worth telling and knowing about. The word “Photography” was coined in Greece and it literally meant “drawing with the use of light”. But the precursor to modern photography and its actual process did not really catch on untill the start of 1800’s when a guy known as John Hershel applied the words “photography”, “positives” and “negatives” to the task of producing pictures.  We had “negatives” of our photos from then until the dawn of digital photography in the last few years.

Even you would agree with me that for almost all of us, the company “Eastman Kodak” is probably the one name we associate most with the early stages and developments of photography.  And let me tell you, it indeed was the early pioneer in the field of photography. George Eastman made the first technologoical and procedural advancements on the otherwise primitive methods being used until 1839.  A little trivia?  Eastman made the name “Kodak” up because he wanted his company name to begin with a “K”, it was a comletely made-up name without any real meaning attached to it. Kodak started a new chapter in the history of photography.

The evolutionary progress began to come along pretty routinely as photography began to mature and become more complex as well as sophisticated.  In 1861, only a few years since Eastman’s pioneering work, a scientist named James Clark Maxwell developed color photography.  Up until that point of time, all photographs were either black and white or monochrome.  Color photography was definitely a huge leap forward but even that really did not start to move into the public arena for a long time. This went on for a long time until two brothers named Lumière in 1907 invented the color plate. Over the decades to follow, photography moved forward steadily and moved out of the world of scientific applications onto journalism and then gradually into our homes.  But the actual revolution that turned photography into the advanced technological marvel as we know it to be today occurred in 1981 when Sony invented the first camera that worked without film.  And just with that, the digital age was upon us. This revolutionized the history of photography and the photography industry has never looked back.

No doubt Sony had hit the masterstroke but soon enough it was Kodak that got the leading edge back on the marketplace by getting the first digital camera named Kodak DCS 100 out on the market in 1990.  As with all old technology, early digital cameras were huge and bulky (by today’s standards) and way more expensive than we are used to now. Innovation in the field of photography has continued to march almost as fast as people could keep up.  When digital cameras were offered that gave us a port to be able to download them to our computers, the internet explosion of imagery was fueled.

Further development came virtually every year since 1990. These included the rapid and phenomenal expansion of memory in digital cameras along with the concept of removable storage drives.  This changed the way people took pictures because now the number of pictures someone could take was virtually limitless.  The expansion of memory in the storage devices also gave developers the ability to add video capture to the same devices as were used for photography so that virtually anyone could become a cameraman with that tiny camera that could by this time fit in their shirt pocket.  Much of the fun of internet sites like YouTube can be attributed to the ability of the average citizen to take video anywhere, anytime and at no cost to them.

The photography and to some extent the video industry has had to do a lot of adjusting to learn how to service this market which is changing at speeds  that even George Eastman would not have imagined a century ago.  The affordable availability of quality color printers that enabled people to print their photographs at home is a boon to the amateur camera enthusiasts but an immensely major blow to the photography industry. But to their credit, the industry has kept up as well and is not lagging behind.

I can assure you, that developments in this field are ever developing and who knows, maybe some game-changing evolutionary research is just getting underway. Who knows what new technical wizardry is ahead for the photography world.  Rest assured, it is sure to be a fun ride, no matter what the future holds.

About Abhishek Duttagupta

Marketing Aficianado ! Obsessive Foodie ! Jack Of All ! Extremely Inquisitive ! TechnoFreak ! DayDreamer ! And Oh, Utterly Lazy !

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