ART 100UNDERSTANDING VISUAL CULTUREPHOTOGRAPHY GETS BORNModule 4.1
The origins of the “camera” These diagrams are two early depictions of the workings of the “camera obscura” (dark room”), in which an external image enters a darkened chamber through a pinhole opening and appears upside down on the opposite wall.
The original“camera” is asbig as a walk-incloset!
Slowly the camera obscuragets smaller and moreportable. Here it hascontracted to the size a smallcabinet with legs.
The origins of the “camera”Gradually it shrinks to a tabletop apparatus, and finally, to the size of a small box.
The origins of the “camera”With the room-size camera obscura now contracted into a small box, the pinholereplaced with a lens that permits focusing, and a mirror installed to reverse theimage, all that remains is to find a way of making the reflected image permanent.
The physics and optics ofthe camera are put togetherfirst, but the chemistryremains to be cracked.
As often happens in the history of technology, multiple competing solutions appear at more or less the same time.It turns out that a number of alternative chemical solutions to the problem are developed.Use these links to see some of the possibilities that were explored by early photographers: http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_early/1_early_photog raphy_-_processes.htm http://photographymuseum.org/primer.html http://www.birrcastle.com/history/photographicTechn iques.asp#
Today some photographersstill enjoy experimentingwith different techniquesfrom the 19th century.http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processeshttp://imsc.usc.edu/haptics/LostandFound/early.html
This link shows how the different kinds of 19th photographs have aged differently, detailing how these photographs (which are stored in many libraries and archived collections) may appear today and can be properly classified. This is the kind of information that people who work closely with historical objects have in mind.http://www.lib.ua.edu/libraries/hoole/collections/P hotographTypesatTheW.S.HooleSpecialCollectio nsLibrary.htm
The dominant technology is France is invented by Niepce in conjunction with Daguerre.
Joseph NicéphoreNièpce, View from the Window atLe Gras, c. 1826, heliograph “the first photograph”
Joseph NicéphoreNièpce, View from the Window atLe Gras, c. 1826, sketch by Helmut Gernsheim
Joseph NicéphoreNièpce, View from the Window atLe Gras, 1826, 1952 print
Joseph NicéphoreNièpce, View from the Window atLe Gras, 1826, 2002 print