Today’s high-end devices, like smartphone cameras and advanced cameras are only the latest in a long line of photographic innovations. This long line dates back all the way to the ancient world. There wasn’t only one person who invented photography, but more different inventors who helped conceive the chemicals, processes and other parts needed to make and reproduce the first pictures. This entire process wasn’t finished until the 19th century, when finally all the parts were put together and formed the first modern camera.
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5th century B.C.: Camera Obscura
As we know, long before all these high-end gadgets that come with a great camera were released, there was the camera obscura. Translated as “dark chamber,” this camera consisted of enclosed boxes or darkened rooms that featured a little opening on one side. This was an incredible invention and its entire mechanism was fascinating. Camera Obscura was also mentioned by Chinese philosopher Mozi and Aristotle. However, a full review of how it worked didn’t arrive until the late 11th century. This camera become famous during the Renaissance and Middle Ages.
Photochemistry, 18th-19th centuries
After the camera obscura came up with a method that allowed to view images in real time, several centuries after, inventors discovered method for permanently preserving the images, using chemicals. A huge breakthrough came in 1725, when a person named Johann Heinrich Schulze, a German professor, managed to find that silver salts darkened when exposed to light. It was considered to be an incredible invention. After that, a French inventor, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, in 1827, used a pewter plate coated with a light-sensitive material and a camera obscura to capture an image.
The next huge step was taken by Louis Daguerre, known as an inventor and artist, who in the late 1840s partnered with Niépce. He discovered that exposing iodized silver plates to light left behind a faint image that could be developed using mercury fumes. This new discovery not only produced a more refined and sharp picture, but it also hurried up the exposure time, from several hours to approximately 20 minutes. He named its discovery the “Daguerreotype.”
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Photography was an imminent discovery and it has become nowadays one of the commonly used things. Of course, the latest trend in photography is the so-called “selfie.” However, did you know that the first selfie in the world was taken in the 1920s?