The History of PhotographyThe History of Photography
byby Kevin CashaKevin Casha
FMIPP FSWPP AMPS AMPAFMIPP FSWPP AMPS AMPA
President Malta Institute of Professional PhotographyPresident Malta Institute of Professional Photography
Tutor HND in photography (Malta)Tutor HND in photography (Malta)
Co-ordinator Malta National Picture ArchiveCo-ordinator Malta National Picture Archive
We owe the nameWe owe the name
"Photography" to Sir John"Photography" to Sir John
Herschel , who first used theHerschel , who first used the
term in 1839, the year theterm in 1839, the year the
photographic process becamephotographic process became
The word is derived from theThe word is derived from the
Greek words forGreek words for
“Light and Writing”.“Light and Writing”.
There are two distinctThere are two distinct
scientific processes that madescientific processes that made
photography possible.photography possible.
It was not until these processesIt was not until these processes
were combined thatwere combined that
photography came into being.photography came into being.
In fact, it is surprising thatIn fact, it is surprising that
photography was not inventedphotography was not invented
earlier than the 1830s, asearlier than the 1830s, as
these processes had actuallythese processes had actually
been known for quite somebeen known for quite some
The first of these processesThe first of these processes
was optical.was optical.
The Camera Obscura (darkThe Camera Obscura (dark
room) had been in existenceroom) had been in existence
for at least four hundred years!for at least four hundred years!
In fact, aIn fact, a
drawing exists,drawing exists,
dated 1519, of adated 1519, of a
Obscura byObscura by
Leonardo daLeonardo da
During thisDuring this
period, itsperiod, its
use as an aiduse as an aid
to drawingto drawing
was beingwas being
These early “cameras” did notThese early “cameras” did not
fix an image, but only projectedfix an image, but only projected
images from an opening in theimages from an opening in the
wall of a darkened room onto awall of a darkened room onto a
surface, turning the room into asurface, turning the room into a
sort of large pinhole camerasort of large pinhole camera
By the late 1600s, theBy the late 1600s, the
development of the cameradevelopment of the camera
obscura was well advanced.obscura was well advanced.
Still, it was more than a centuryStill, it was more than a century
before people learned how tobefore people learned how to
capture the image made by thecapture the image made by the
A “portable” Camera Obscura made aroundA “portable” Camera Obscura made around
1676, with an internal mirror to reflect the1676, with an internal mirror to reflect the
image onto a translucent screen set into theimage onto a translucent screen set into the
In time, the camera obscuraIn time, the camera obscura
was reduced to a small box,was reduced to a small box,
much like a modern camera,much like a modern camera,
with a lens placed in the holewith a lens placed in the hole
where light entered.where light entered.
The second process needed toThe second process needed to
invent the photograph, wasinvent the photograph, was
For hundreds of years, peopleFor hundreds of years, people
had been aware that somehad been aware that some
colours are bleached in the sun,colours are bleached in the sun,
but they had made littlebut they had made little
distinction between the effectsdistinction between the effects
of heat, air and light.of heat, air and light.
Around 1600, Robert Boyle, aAround 1600, Robert Boyle, a
founder of the Royal Society,founder of the Royal Society,
had reported that silver chloridehad reported that silver chloride
turned dark under exposure…turned dark under exposure…
but hebut he
appeared toappeared to
believe that itbelieve that it
was causedwas caused
by exposureby exposure
to the air,to the air,
rather than torather than to
Robert BoyleRobert Boyle
……following this,following this,
Angelo Sala, inAngelo Sala, in
the early 17ththe early 17th
century, noticedcentury, noticed
that powderedthat powdered
nitrate of silver isnitrate of silver is
blackened by theblackened by the
……In 1727In 1727
Johann HeinrichJohann Heinrich
discovered thatdiscovered that
certain liquidscertain liquids
change colourchange colour
when exposed towhen exposed to
Modern photography is actuallyModern photography is actually
based on Schulze’s discoverybased on Schulze’s discovery
that light effects certain silverthat light effects certain silver
At the beginning of the 19At the beginning of the 19thth
century, Thomas Wedgwoodcentury, Thomas Wedgwood
was conducting experiments…was conducting experiments…
……he had successfullyhe had successfully
captured images, but hiscaptured images, but his
silhouettes could not survive,silhouettes could not survive,
as there was no known methodas there was no known method
of making the imageof making the image
The first major breakthrough inThe first major breakthrough in
producing a successful pictureproducing a successful picture
was in 1827 by Nicephorewas in 1827 by Nicephore
Nièpce, using material thatNièpce, using material that
hardened on exposure to light…hardened on exposure to light…
Soon Daguerre discovered aSoon Daguerre discovered a
way of developing photographicway of developing photographic
plates, a process which greatlyplates, a process which greatly
reduced the exposure time fromreduced the exposure time from
8 hours down to half an hour…8 hours down to half an hour…
……Daguerre also found thatDaguerre also found that
an image could be renderedan image could be rendered
“permanent” by immersing it“permanent” by immersing it
in salt.in salt.
The image was formed on aThe image was formed on a
silvered copper plate and it wassilvered copper plate and it was
likened to “A Mirror with alikened to “A Mirror with a
Equipment to Produce DaguerrotypesEquipment to Produce Daguerrotypes
In 1839 Paul Delaroche , aIn 1839 Paul Delaroche , a
leading artist & scholar of theleading artist & scholar of the
day, was asked to head aday, was asked to head a
committee to present a report oncommittee to present a report on
Daguerre's invention to theDaguerre's invention to the
French government.French government.
Following his findings, theFollowing his findings, the
French government bought theFrench government bought the
rights to this “invention” in Julyrights to this “invention” in July
Delaroche became, in fact, aDelaroche became, in fact, a
leading advocate ofleading advocate of
photography, as the followingphotography, as the following
observation from his reportobservation from his report
"To sum up, the
of Daguerre has
rendered an immense
service to the arts."
Details of the process wereDetails of the process were
made public on 19 August 1839,made public on 19 August 1839,
and Daguerre named it theand Daguerre named it the
Today, with photography takenToday, with photography taken
totally for granted,totally for granted,
one needs to appreciate theone needs to appreciate the
sensation caused by thesensation caused by the
announcement of theannouncement of the
The idea that a picture could beThe idea that a picture could be
captured without the need for ancaptured without the need for an
artist was mind-blowing at theartist was mind-blowing at the
by Gustavby Gustav
““Three Girls”Three Girls”
……Initially, many artists making aInitially, many artists making a
living out of miniature portraitsliving out of miniature portraits
saw their means of livelihoodsaw their means of livelihood
coming to an end!coming to an end!
Some artists saw inSome artists saw in
photography a real threat andphotography a real threat and
even prophesied that paintingeven prophesied that painting
would cease to exist!would cease to exist!
As we all know, this did notAs we all know, this did not
In fact, photography wasIn fact, photography was
instrumental in freeing artistsinstrumental in freeing artists
from slavish, meticulousfrom slavish, meticulous
reproduction, enabling them toreproduction, enabling them to
go into impressionism & othergo into impressionism & other
more creative experimentalmore creative experimental
The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, 1834 – oil onThe Execution of Lady Jane Grey, 1834 – oil on
canvas by Delaroche, National Gallery, Londoncanvas by Delaroche, National Gallery, London
Whilst photography had indeedWhilst photography had indeed
taken over as a means oftaken over as a means of
recording objectively, it forcedrecording objectively, it forced
artists into a new form ofartists into a new form of
Napoleon crossingNapoleon crossing
the Alps-1850 bythe Alps-1850 by
Delaroche, LouvreDelaroche, Louvre
In fact, Photography was, onIn fact, Photography was, on
the other hand, recognized bythe other hand, recognized by
some artists, Paul Valerysome artists, Paul Valery
speaking on Degas said . . .speaking on Degas said . . .
““He loved and appreciatedHe loved and appreciated
photography at a time whenphotography at a time when
most artists despised it or didmost artists despised it or did
not dare admit that they madenot dare admit that they made
use of it!”use of it!”
In fact, it isIn fact, it is
known thatknown that
another famousanother famous
painter, Ingres,painter, Ingres,
to aid him in histo aid him in his
Napoleon on hisNapoleon on his
Imperial ThroneImperial Throne
– 1806 –– 1806 –
Painting byPainting by
The demand for “likenesses”,The demand for “likenesses”,
which could not be met inwhich could not be met in
volume and in cost by oilvolume and in cost by oil
painting, aided the push for thepainting, aided the push for the
development of photography.development of photography.
The announcement that theThe announcement that the
Daguerreotype "requires noDaguerreotype "requires no
knowledge of drawing...." andknowledge of drawing...." and
that "anyone may succeed....that "anyone may succeed....
and perform as well as theand perform as well as the
author of the invention" wasauthor of the invention" was
greeted with enormousgreeted with enormous
became a crazebecame a craze
overnight . . .overnight . . .
– a hand– a hand
Still, Daguerreotypes, whileStill, Daguerreotypes, while
beautiful, were fragile andbeautiful, were fragile and
difficult to copy.difficult to copy.
They were not within reach ofThey were not within reach of
the common folk…the common folk…
A single early DaguerrotypeA single early Daguerrotype
taken in a portrait studio couldtaken in a portrait studio could
cost $1,000 in today’s money!!!cost $1,000 in today’s money!!!
However, not all peopleHowever, not all people
welcomed this exciting inventionwelcomed this exciting invention
- some viewed it in quite sinister- some viewed it in quite sinister
A newspaper report in theA newspaper report in the
Leipzig City Advertiser stated:Leipzig City Advertiser stated:
"The wish to capture"The wish to capture
evanescent reflections is notevanescent reflections is not
only impossible... but theonly impossible... but the
mere desire alone, the will tomere desire alone, the will to
do so, is blasphemy. ..do so, is blasphemy. ..
……God created man in HisGod created man in His
own image, and no man-own image, and no man-
made machine may fix themade machine may fix the
image of God.image of God.
Is it possible that God shouldIs it possible that God should
have abandoned His eternalhave abandoned His eternal
principles, and allowed aprinciples, and allowed a
Frenchman... to give to theFrenchman... to give to the
world an invention of theworld an invention of the
But as so often happens inBut as so often happens in
history, inventors are nothistory, inventors are not
easily deterred by fanatics…easily deterred by fanatics…
Daguerre & others persistedDaguerre & others persisted
““Boulevard du Temple", takenBoulevard du Temple", taken
by Daguerre in late 1838 orby Daguerre in late 1838 or
early 1839, was the first everearly 1839, was the first ever
photograph of a person.photograph of a person.
de Templede Temple
It is an image of a busy street,It is an image of a busy street,
but because exposure time wasbut because exposure time was
over ten minutes, the movingover ten minutes, the moving
city traffic did not register.city traffic did not register.
The exception isThe exception is
a man in thea man in the
bottom leftbottom left
corner, whocorner, who
stood still gettingstood still getting
his bootshis boots
polished longpolished long
enough to showenough to show
A drawback of theA drawback of the
Daguerreotype process,Daguerreotype process,
besides being expensive, wasbesides being expensive, was
that each picture was a once-that each picture was a once-
only affair.only affair.
That, to many, would not haveThat, to many, would not have
been regarded as abeen regarded as a
it meant that the owner of theit meant that the owner of the
portrait could be certain that heportrait could be certain that he
had a piece of art that could nothad a piece of art that could not
be duplicated!be duplicated!
If however two copies wereIf however two copies were
required, the only way of doingrequired, the only way of doing
this was to use two camerasthis was to use two cameras
side by side.side by side.
There was, therefore, a growingThere was, therefore, a growing
need for a means of copyingneed for a means of copying
pictures which daguerreotypespictures which daguerreotypes
could never satisfy.could never satisfy.
Enter the “Calotype” inventedEnter the “Calotype” invented
by William Henry Fox Talbot ,by William Henry Fox Talbot ,
which was to provide thewhich was to provide the
answer to that problem.answer to that problem.
Strada Brittanica -
Calotype by Sir
William HenryWilliam Henry
Fox TalbotFox Talbot
The process began with aThe process began with a
negative image on paper. Itnegative image on paper. It
was then printed on anotherwas then printed on another
sensitized piece of paper tosensitized piece of paper to
produce a positive print produce a positive print
Talbot had earlier discoveredTalbot had earlier discovered
another means to fix a silveranother means to fix a silver
process image but had kept itprocess image but had kept it
Leaves &Leaves &
Fox TalbotFox Talbot
After reading about Daguerre'sAfter reading about Daguerre's
invention, Talbot refined hisinvention, Talbot refined his
process, so that it might be fastprocess, so that it might be fast
enough to take photographs ofenough to take photographs of
Calotype SaltCalotype Salt
““The Artist &The Artist &
the Gravethe Grave
by Adamson &by Adamson &
Hill, c 1840Hill, c 1840
His paper to the Royal SocietyHis paper to the Royal Society
of London, dated 31 Januaryof London, dated 31 January
1839, actually precedes the1839, actually precedes the
paper by Daguerre …paper by Daguerre …
It was entitled "Some account ofIt was entitled "Some account of
the Art of Photogenic drawing,the Art of Photogenic drawing,
or the process by which naturalor the process by which natural
objects may be made toobjects may be made to
delineate themselves without thedelineate themselves without the
aid of the artist's pencil."aid of the artist's pencil."
He wrote:He wrote:
"How charming it would be if"How charming it would be if
it were possible to cause theseit were possible to cause these
natural images to imprintnatural images to imprint
themselves durably andthemselves durably and
remain fixed on the paper!"remain fixed on the paper!"
S ON LACOCKS ON LACOCK
ESTATE” –ESTATE” –
CALOTYPE byCALOTYPE by
FOX TALBOT -FOX TALBOT -
The earliest paper negative weThe earliest paper negative we
know of was produced by Talbotknow of was produced by Talbot
in August 1835.in August 1835.
It depicts the now famousIt depicts the now famous
window at Lacock Abbey, Foxwindow at Lacock Abbey, Fox
Talbot’s home.Talbot’s home.
The negative was small (1"The negative was small (1"
square), and poor in quality,square), and poor in quality,
compared with the strikingcompared with the striking
images produced by theimages produced by the
Daguerreotype process. . .Daguerreotype process. . .
. . .but the great advantage of. . .but the great advantage of
Talbot's method was that anTalbot's method was that an
unlimited number of positiveunlimited number of positive
prints could be made.prints could be made.
Magdalen College, Oxford by FoxMagdalen College, Oxford by Fox
Talbot, Calotype 1842Talbot, Calotype 1842
““Cloisters, Lacock Abbey -Cloisters, Lacock Abbey -
1842” by Fox Talbot1842” by Fox Talbot
By 1840, however, Talbot hadBy 1840, however, Talbot had
made some significantmade some significant
improvements, and by 1844improvements, and by 1844
he was able to bring out ahe was able to bring out a
photographically illustratedphotographically illustrated
book entitled "The Pencil ofbook entitled "The Pencil of
Advert in the “Scotsman” for Talbot’s Pencil ofAdvert in the “Scotsman” for Talbot’s Pencil of
Nature – the first book illustrated with photographsNature – the first book illustrated with photographs
- 1845- 1845
Talbot patented this process,Talbot patented this process,
which unfortunately greatlywhich unfortunately greatly
limited its adoption.limited its adoption.
He spent the rest of his life inHe spent the rest of his life in
lawsuits defending the patentlawsuits defending the patent
until he gave up onuntil he gave up on
““22, Windmill Street, Valletta” – C.R. Jones –22, Windmill Street, Valletta” – C.R. Jones –
The debate about who was theThe debate about who was the
actual inventor of photography –actual inventor of photography –
Daguerre or Fox Talbot – stillDaguerre or Fox Talbot – still
rages to this day!rages to this day!
But it is a fact, that conventionalBut it is a fact, that conventional
photography became based onphotography became based on
Talbot’s principle whereas, byTalbot’s principle whereas, by
comparison, thecomparison, the
Daguerreotype, for all itsDaguerreotype, for all its
quality, was aquality, was a
blind alley.blind alley.
““Paris Boulevard”, page 2 from Fox Talbot’sParis Boulevard”, page 2 from Fox Talbot’s
“Pencil of Light” book“Pencil of Light” book
Initially, progress in this new artInitially, progress in this new art
was comparatively slow due to,was comparatively slow due to,
ironically, its two main inventors . .ironically, its two main inventors . .
Both Daguerre and Fox TalbotBoth Daguerre and Fox Talbot
were partly responsible, the formerwere partly responsible, the former
for having rather slyly placed afor having rather slyly placed a
patent on his invention whilst thepatent on his invention whilst the
French government had made itFrench government had made it
freely available to the world, thefreely available to the world, the
latter for his law-suits in connectionlatter for his law-suits in connection
with his patents.with his patents.
Group taking tea - Salt Print from CalotypeGroup taking tea - Salt Print from Calotype
Negative by Fox Talbot - 1843Negative by Fox Talbot - 1843
But one must not be too harshBut one must not be too harsh
on them.on them.
Their toil inspired others to keepTheir toil inspired others to keep
working on their invention andworking on their invention and
bring it up to today’s heights.bring it up to today’s heights.
” by” by
Hunt –Hunt –
salt printsalt print
Still, as Talbot's photographyStill, as Talbot's photography
was on paper it inevitably hadwas on paper it inevitably had
The imperfections of the paperThe imperfections of the paper
were printed alongside with thewere printed alongside with the
image, when a positive wasimage, when a positive was
Burmese Girl byBurmese Girl by
John McCosh,John McCosh,
1852 Salt Print1852 Salt Print
In the late 1840’s, severalIn the late 1840’s, several
experimented with glass as aexperimented with glass as a
basis for negatives, but thebasis for negatives, but the
problem was to make the silverproblem was to make the silver
solution stick to the shinysolution stick to the shiny
surface of the glass.surface of the glass.
An early Malta photo by C.R. Jones –An early Malta photo by C.R. Jones –
c1845/6 – “Four gentlemen with St Paul’sc1845/6 – “Four gentlemen with St Paul’s
Isles in the background”Isles in the background”
In 1848 a cousin of NicephoreIn 1848 a cousin of Nicephore
Nièpce, Abel Nièpce de Saint-Nièpce, Abel Nièpce de Saint-
Victor, perfected a process ofVictor, perfected a process of
coating a glass plate with Albumencoating a glass plate with Albumen
(white of egg) sensitised with(white of egg) sensitised with
potassium iodide, and washed withpotassium iodide, and washed with
an acid solution of silver nitrate.an acid solution of silver nitrate.
It did the trick!It did the trick!
This sticky coating held theThis sticky coating held the
chemical fast.chemical fast.
This new ( ALBUMEN) processThis new ( ALBUMEN) process
made for very fine detail andmade for very fine detail and
much higher quality.much higher quality.
However, it was still slow,However, it was still slow,
hence the fact that earlyhence the fact that early
photographs produced on thisphotographs produced on this
substance were architecturesubstance were architecture
and landscapes…and landscapes…
Initially, portraiture was notInitially, portraiture was not
possible, but later refinementspossible, but later refinements
enabled a certain amount ofenabled a certain amount of
controlled portraiture to becontrolled portraiture to be
1865 Albumen1865 Albumen
print –print –
a self portraita self portrait
by famousby famous
Nadar with hisNadar with his
wife & sonwife & son
Nadar - BalloonNadar - Balloon
portrait taken atportrait taken at
his studio inhis studio in
Boulevard desBoulevard des
which he lent towhich he lent to
for their firstfor their first
exhibition inexhibition in
In 1851 a new era in photographyIn 1851 a new era in photography
was introduced by Frederick Scottwas introduced by Frederick Scott
Archer , who introduced theArcher , who introduced the
COLLODION PROCESS.COLLODION PROCESS.
This process used a syrupy,This process used a syrupy,
transparent liquid calledtransparent liquid called
collodion to hold the silvercollodion to hold the silver
compounds on glass.compounds on glass.
It also required that the coating,It also required that the coating,
exposure and development ofexposure and development of
the image should be done whilstthe image should be done whilst
the plate was still wet.the plate was still wet.
The response of collodionThe response of collodion
plates to light was much fasterplates to light was much faster
than in other processesthan in other processes
reducing exposure times to tworeducing exposure times to two
or three seconds, thus openingor three seconds, thus opening
up new horizons inup new horizons in
Rochester Castle – wet collodion by Scott
But the photographer still had toBut the photographer still had to
coat the glass plate and load itcoat the glass plate and load it
into the camera.into the camera.
Then the plate had to beThen the plate had to be
exposed, and the imageexposed, and the image
developed, before the collodiondeveloped, before the collodion
At that time, average prices forAt that time, average prices for
daguerreotypes would still costdaguerreotypes would still cost
about a guinea (£1.05), whichabout a guinea (£1.05), which
would be the weekly wage forwould be the weekly wage for
many workers.many workers.
The collodion process, however,The collodion process, however,
was much cheaper – now printswas much cheaper – now prints
could be made for as little ascould be made for as little as
one shilling (50c)!one shilling (50c)!
Alas, the wetAlas, the wet
collodion process,collodion process,
although a greatalthough a great
step forward,step forward,
required arequired a
amount ofamount of
equipment onequipment on
……but it is likely that thebut it is likely that the
difficulties of the collodiondifficulties of the collodion
process hastened the search forprocess hastened the search for
“instantaneous” photography.“instantaneous” photography.
It was clear that a dry methodIt was clear that a dry method
was required.was required.
““Paul &Paul &
Virginia” –Virginia” –
1864 albumen1864 albumen
print from aprint from a
collodion oncollodion on
glass negativeglass negative
by Juliaby Julia
Another process, alsoAnother process, also
developed by Archer, was thedeveloped by Archer, was the
Ambrotype , which was a directAmbrotype , which was a direct
It was a thin negative image onIt was a thin negative image on
glass made to appear as aglass made to appear as a
positive by showing it against apositive by showing it against a
black background. The reverseblack background. The reverse
of the glass plate was eitherof the glass plate was either
painted black or backed with apainted black or backed with a
black material.black material.
The AmbrotypeThe Ambrotype
The wet collodionThe wet collodion
negative is mountednegative is mounted
with a blackwith a black
background then abackground then a
vignette mask & thenvignette mask & then
glass. All mounted inglass. All mounted in
a tooled leathera tooled leather
The same methodThe same method
was used to mountwas used to mount
The ambrotype was anThe ambrotype was an
inexpensive alternative to theinexpensive alternative to the
daguerreotype, similar in sizedaguerreotype, similar in size
and also mainly used forand also mainly used for
These new processes gaveThese new processes gave
photography a boost and, inphotography a boost and, in
the mid 1850’s, thethe mid 1850’s, the
mushrooming of photographicmushrooming of photographic
establishments reflectedestablishments reflected
photography's growingphotography's growing
…… from a merefrom a mere
handful in thehandful in the
mid 1840s themid 1840s the
number innumber in
Britain grew toBritain grew to
66 in 1855, and66 in 1855, and
to 147 twoto 147 two
years later.years later.
In London, a favourite venue wasIn London, a favourite venue was
Regent Street where, in the peak ofRegent Street where, in the peak of
the mid 1860’s there were no lessthe mid 1860’s there were no less
than 42 photographicthan 42 photographic
In America the growth was justIn America the growth was just
as dramatic:as dramatic:
in 1850 there were 77in 1850 there were 77
photographic galleries in Newphotographic galleries in New
York alone.York alone.
““Firemen” - Hand Coloured Ambrotype - 1858Firemen” - Hand Coloured Ambrotype - 1858
Advert for aAdvert for a
tripod to taketripod to take
flat copy!flat copy!
The demand for photographsThe demand for photographs
was such that Charleswas such that Charles
Baudelaire (1826-1867), a wellBaudelaire (1826-1867), a well
known poet of the period and aknown poet of the period and a
pessimistic critic of thepessimistic critic of the
photography, commented:photography, commented:
society has rushed,
Narcissus to a
man, to gloat at its
trivial image on a
scrap of metal."
The next major step forwardThe next major step forward
came in 1871, when Dr. Richardcame in 1871, when Dr. Richard
Maddox discovered a way ofMaddox discovered a way of
using Gelatin (which had beenusing Gelatin (which had been
discovered only a few yearsdiscovered only a few years
before) instead of glass as abefore) instead of glass as a
basis for the photographic plate.basis for the photographic plate.
This at last led to theThis at last led to the
development of the dry platedevelopment of the dry plate
Dry plates could be developedDry plates could be developed
much more quickly than withmuch more quickly than with
any previous technique.any previous technique.
Initially, the material was veryInitially, the material was very
insensitive compared withinsensitive compared with
existing processes, but it wasexisting processes, but it was
refined to the extent that therefined to the extent that the
idea of factory-madeidea of factory-made
photographic material was nowphotographic material was now
becoming a reality.becoming a reality.
The introduction of the dry-plateThe introduction of the dry-plate
process marked a turning point.process marked a turning point.
No longer did one need the cumbersome
wetplates or the darkroom tent.
The day was nearing thatThe day was nearing that
pictures could be madepictures could be made
“without the photographer“without the photographer
needing any specialisedneeding any specialised
At that stage, a further impetusAt that stage, a further impetus
was given to photography forwas given to photography for
the masses by the introductionthe masses by the introduction
of “Carte-de-visite”of “Carte-de-visite”
photographs. This developedphotographs. This developed
into a mania, though it wasinto a mania, though it was
relatively short-lived.relatively short-lived.
The standard 2.5" x 4" formatThe standard 2.5" x 4" format
was patented by a Parisianwas patented by a Parisian
photographer, Andre Adolphephotographer, Andre Adolphe
Disderi, in 1854.Disderi, in 1854.
An artisticAn artistic
Carte deCarte de
Visite byVisite by
S.L. CassarS.L. Cassar
That allowed eight prints to beThat allowed eight prints to be
made every time the negativemade every time the negative
was printed.was printed.
The American Civil War alsoThe American Civil War also
gave the format enormousgave the format enormous
momentum as soldiers andmomentum as soldiers and
their families posed for “Cartes”their families posed for “Cartes”
before they were separated bybefore they were separated by
war or death.war or death.
Civil War-Civil War-
circa 1861circa 1861
In England alone, annual salesIn England alone, annual sales
ofof “Cartes”“Cartes” actually ran intoactually ran into
hundreds of millions.hundreds of millions.
Also, around the sameAlso, around the same
Victorian period, stereoscopicVictorian period, stereoscopic
photography made itsphotography made its
It reproduced images in threeIt reproduced images in three
Banker and businessmanBanker and businessman
Antoine Claudet had previouslyAntoine Claudet had previously
learned of the newlearned of the new
Daguerreotype process backDaguerreotype process back
in 1839in 1839
Claudet promptly purchasedClaudet promptly purchased
a license to practice thea license to practice the
fledgling art.fledgling art.
He had opened his studio inHe had opened his studio in
1841 and became one of only1841 and became one of only
two operators of daguerreotypetwo operators of daguerreotype
studios in England.studios in England.
He invented the red darkroomHe invented the red darkroom
light, discovered a way tolight, discovered a way to
reduce exposure time forreduce exposure time for
daguerreotypes, and was thedaguerreotypes, and was the
first to use paintedfirst to use painted
backgrounds and props inbackgrounds and props in
An earlyAn early
portrait ofportrait of
Faraday byFaraday by
Claudet earlyClaudet early
In the 1850s he moved on toIn the 1850s he moved on to
the calotype and wet-collodionthe calotype and wet-collodion
processes, then specialized inprocesses, then specialized in
stereograph views in laterstereograph views in later
years. It was Claudet whoyears. It was Claudet who
patented stereoscopes inpatented stereoscopes in
Stereoscopic “Still life of chemicalStereoscopic “Still life of chemical
apparatus” by Claudet 1850apparatus” by Claudet 1850
Stereography was a processStereography was a process
whose popularity waxed andwhose popularity waxed and
waned reaching its heights inwaned reaching its heights in
the mid-Victorian era.the mid-Victorian era.
Self portrait with his son Francis bySelf portrait with his son Francis by
Antoine ClaudetAntoine Claudet
However, by the 1870s, gelatin-However, by the 1870s, gelatin-
based dry emulsion began tobased dry emulsion began to
replace the wet collodion plates.replace the wet collodion plates.
Celluloid had been invented inCelluloid had been invented in
the early 1860’s - the searchthe early 1860’s - the search
was on for a lighter and lesswas on for a lighter and less
fragile support than glass!fragile support than glass!
John Carbutt, an EnglishJohn Carbutt, an English
photographer who hadphotographer who had
emigrated to America, had setemigrated to America, had set
up the Keystone Dry Plateup the Keystone Dry Plate
Works in 1879 to manufactureWorks in 1879 to manufacture
gelatin dry plates.gelatin dry plates.
He persuaded the CelluloidHe persuaded the Celluloid
Manufacturing Co. to produce aManufacturing Co. to produce a
thin celluloid film, which wasthin celluloid film, which was
sufficiently transparent, as asufficiently transparent, as a
backing for sensitive material.backing for sensitive material.
Carbutt started to manufactureCarbutt started to manufacture
cut film using this materialcut film using this material
sometime before 1888, but itsometime before 1888, but it
was slow to catch on.was slow to catch on.
Two key events which wouldTwo key events which would
make celluloid film a necessitymake celluloid film a necessity
had yet to happen –had yet to happen –
Roll film cameras and later on,Roll film cameras and later on,
motion pictures…motion pictures…
These two developments wouldThese two developments would
radically change photography . .radically change photography . .
In 1884, flexible, roll-up film wasIn 1884, flexible, roll-up film was
mass produced by Georgemass produced by George
Eastman, founder of theEastman, founder of the
Eastman Kodak Company, inEastman Kodak Company, in
Rochester, New York.Rochester, New York.
Eastman developed commerialEastman developed commerial
dry gel on paper, or film, todry gel on paper, or film, to
replace the photographic plate.replace the photographic plate.
Now there was no longer theNow there was no longer the
need to carry boxes of plates &need to carry boxes of plates &
toxic chemicals around.toxic chemicals around.
In July of 1888In July of 1888
Eastman's KodakEastman's Kodak
Camera went onCamera went on
the market with thethe market with the
"You press the"You press the
button, we do thebutton, we do the
Early Kodak Box cameras where quicklyEarly Kodak Box cameras where quickly
followed by the first “Brownie”,followed by the first “Brownie”,
introduced in February, 1900introduced in February, 1900
The Brownie popularized low-The Brownie popularized low-
cost photography andcost photography and
introduced the concept of theintroduced the concept of the
With its simple controls andWith its simple controls and
initial price of $1, it was intendedinitial price of $1, it was intended
to be a camera that anyoneto be a camera that anyone
could afford and was also easycould afford and was also easy
to use, carry & hand hold.to use, carry & hand hold.
The camera wasThe camera was
named after Franknamed after Frank
Brownell, itsBrownell, its
inventor who wasinventor who was
a subcontractor ofa subcontractor of
Eastman KodakEastman Kodak
Eastman’s company evenEastman’s company even
processed the film, so amateurprocessed the film, so amateur
photographers no longer had tophotographers no longer had to
do their own developing.do their own developing.
This marked the beginning ofThis marked the beginning of
Photography’s popularity as aPhotography’s popularity as a
hobby for the masses. .hobby for the masses. . At lastAt last
it could now reach a muchit could now reach a much
wider audience.wider audience.
Unfortunately, in 1932, Eastman,Unfortunately, in 1932, Eastman,
suffering from terminal cancer, andsuffering from terminal cancer, and
having settled all his affairs, shothaving settled all his affairs, shot
himself through the heart, leaving ahimself through the heart, leaving a
" To my friends: My
work is done. Why
From then onwardsFrom then onwards
photography has never lookedphotography has never looked
back and it soon began to beback and it soon began to be
recognized both as an art formrecognized both as an art form
as well as a powerful mediaas well as a powerful media
tool …tool …
““Man in Electric Chair” – William van der WeydeMan in Electric Chair” – William van der Weyde
The horizons of photographyThe horizons of photography
started to stretch to new limits…started to stretch to new limits…
A flashlight photo of a white-A flashlight photo of a white-
tailed doe with her fawns wastailed doe with her fawns was
among the world’s firstamong the world’s first
nighttime photographs ofnighttime photographs of
animals, shot by wildlifeanimals, shot by wildlife
enthusiast George Shiras.enthusiast George Shiras.
A pioneer in flashlight and trip-wire photography, ShirasA pioneer in flashlight and trip-wire photography, Shiras
captured this shot in Whitefish River, Michigan, aroundcaptured this shot in Whitefish River, Michigan, around
1906 using a remote-control flashlight camera triggered1906 using a remote-control flashlight camera triggered
when an animal stepped on the trip wire.when an animal stepped on the trip wire.
Underwater color photography was born with this shotUnderwater color photography was born with this shot
of a hogfish,of a hogfish, photographedphotographed off the Florida Keys by Dr.off the Florida Keys by Dr.
William Longley andWilliam Longley and National GeographicNational Geographic
photographer Charles Martin in 1926.photographer Charles Martin in 1926.
Equipped with camerasEquipped with cameras
encased in waterproof housingencased in waterproof housing
and pounds of highly explosiveand pounds of highly explosive
magnesium flash powder formagnesium flash powder for
underwater illumination, the pairunderwater illumination, the pair
pioneered underwaterpioneered underwater
A symbol of mankind’s giant leap, this photo of man’s smallA symbol of mankind’s giant leap, this photo of man’s small
step—astronaut Buzzstep—astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s—showsAldrin’s—shows one of the first humanone of the first human
prints left on the surface of the moon. Aldrin took this photo ofprints left on the surface of the moon. Aldrin took this photo of
his own footprint during NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission.his own footprint during NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission.
This famous "Blue Marble" shot represents the firstThis famous "Blue Marble" shot represents the first
photograph in which Earth is in full view. It was taken onphotograph in which Earth is in full view. It was taken on
December 7, 1972, as the Apollo 17 crew left Earth’sDecember 7, 1972, as the Apollo 17 crew left Earth’s
orbit for the moon. With the sun at their backs, the creworbit for the moon. With the sun at their backs, the crew
had a perfectly lit view of the blue planet.had a perfectly lit view of the blue planet.
Cape Cod – First Space ShuttleCape Cod – First Space Shuttle
Photo - 1981Photo - 1981
The invention of ColourThe invention of Colour
One cannot speak about theOne cannot speak about the
development of Photographydevelopment of Photography
without looking at the inventionwithout looking at the invention
of colour materials & earlyof colour materials & early
camera improvementscamera improvements
Colour photography had beenColour photography had been
developing since the earlydeveloping since the early
……Color had been the dream ofColor had been the dream of
photographers since thephotographers since the
medium of photography wasmedium of photography was
The foundation for colorThe foundation for color
photography had been establishedphotography had been established
in 1859 by James Clerk Maxwell,in 1859 by James Clerk Maxwell,
a Scottish physicist.a Scottish physicist.
that all colorsthat all colors
could becould be
reduced toreduced to
of threeof three
primary colorsprimary colors
In 1873, Herman VogelIn 1873, Herman Vogel
developed a means wherebydeveloped a means whereby
film could become sensitive tofilm could become sensitive to
green light…green light…
Many attempts were made toMany attempts were made to
apply this principle toapply this principle to
photography, but it was notphotography, but it was not
until decades later thatuntil decades later that
inventors were successful. inventors were successful.
1877 Agen, France - Louis Ducos du Hauron, a1877 Agen, France - Louis Ducos du Hauron, a
French pioneer of color photography.French pioneer of color photography.
The overlapping, yellow, cyanThe overlapping, yellow, cyan
and red subtractive colourand red subtractive colour
elements can clearly be seen.elements can clearly be seen.
Best known for his developmentBest known for his development
of electromagnetic theory,of electromagnetic theory,
Scottish physicist James ClerkScottish physicist James Clerk
Maxwell dabbled in color theoryMaxwell dabbled in color theory
throughout his life, eventuallythroughout his life, eventually
producing the first colorproducing the first color
photograph in 1861.photograph in 1861.
Maxwell created the image ofMaxwell created the image of
the tartan ribbon bythe tartan ribbon by
photographing it three timesphotographing it three times
through red, blue, and yellowthrough red, blue, and yellow
filters, then recombining thefilters, then recombining the
images into one color compositeimages into one color composite
In 1907 two Frenchmen, theIn 1907 two Frenchmen, the
brothers Auguste and Louisbrothers Auguste and Louis
Lumiere, placed on the marketLumiere, placed on the market
their autochrome glass plates.their autochrome glass plates.
by Arnoldby Arnold
These plates were coated withThese plates were coated with
starch grains that were dyedstarch grains that were dyed
red, green, and blue, overred, green, and blue, over
which was a second coating ofwhich was a second coating of
panchromatic emulsion.panchromatic emulsion.
Early box of Lumiere AutochromeEarly box of Lumiere Autochrome
Plates – Expiry Date 1923Plates – Expiry Date 1923
Patented in 1903 by the LumierePatented in 1903 by the Lumiere
brothers in France and firstbrothers in France and first
marketed in 1907, it remainedmarketed in 1907, it remained
the principal color photographythe principal color photography
process until it was supersededprocess until it was superseded
by the advent of color film duringby the advent of color film during
the mid 1930s.the mid 1930s.
““Rodin withRodin with
Colour film technologyColour film technology
developed rapidly.developed rapidly.
After 1930 the much sharperAfter 1930 the much sharper
"integral tripack" color films"integral tripack" color films
were introduced, which usedwere introduced, which used
dyes rather than grains.dyes rather than grains.
The first modern 'integrated tri-The first modern 'integrated tri-
pack' colour film, Kodachrome,pack' colour film, Kodachrome,
was introduced in 1935 basedwas introduced in 1935 based
on three coloured emulsions.on three coloured emulsions.
KodachromeKodachrome film becamefilm became
famous for its sharpness andfamous for its sharpness and
rich colors.rich colors.
Agfacolor appeared as a seriesAgfacolor appeared as a series
of color photographic productsof color photographic products
produced by Agfa of Germany.produced by Agfa of Germany.
It was originally introduced inIt was originally introduced in
1932 as a 'screen plate'1932 as a 'screen plate'
version, similar to theversion, similar to the
Autochrome process, but in lateAutochrome process, but in late
1936 Agfa introduced1936 Agfa introduced
The new Agfacolor film wasThe new Agfacolor film was
also a 'tripack', likealso a 'tripack', like
But, unlike the Kodachrome tri-packBut, unlike the Kodachrome tri-pack
process, the color couplers wereprocess, the color couplers were
integral with the emulsion layers.integral with the emulsion layers.
This greatly simplified filmThis greatly simplified film
In Kodachrome the color dyesIn Kodachrome the color dyes
had to be diffused into the filmhad to be diffused into the film
during development.during development.
These new films were positiveThese new films were positive
transparency films, but soontransparency films, but soon
color negative films werecolor negative films were
In fact, most modern color films,In fact, most modern color films,
except Kodachrome, whereexcept Kodachrome, where
actually based on the Agfacoloractually based on the Agfacolor
Neue technology developed inNeue technology developed in
Since then color film becameSince then color film became
the standard.the standard.
Other important technicalOther important technical
advances arrived in the 1920’sadvances arrived in the 1920’s
and 1930s, & affectedand 1930s, & affected
amateur and professionalamateur and professional
photographers alike.photographers alike.
The film format was introducedThe film format was introduced
into still photography as earlyinto still photography as early
as 1913 (the Tourist Multiple)as 1913 (the Tourist Multiple)
but really became popular withbut really became popular with
the launch of the Leica camera,the launch of the Leica camera,
created by Oskar Barnack.created by Oskar Barnack.
Oskar Barnack in his workshopOskar Barnack in his workshop
Shortly before World War I,Shortly before World War I,
Barnack in Germany, workingBarnack in Germany, working
as a technician for the E.Leitzas a technician for the E.Leitz
company, invented a miniaturecompany, invented a miniature
camera that used perforatedcamera that used perforated
strips of 35-mm film.strips of 35-mm film.
The Leica, introduced inThe Leica, introduced in
Germany in 1925, was aGermany in 1925, was a
“miniature 35mm” camera“miniature 35mm” camera
which came with a wide rangewhich came with a wide range
of accessories andof accessories and
A copy of the first Leica produced byA copy of the first Leica produced by
Barnack in 1925Barnack in 1925
Initially, many dismissed it as aInitially, many dismissed it as a
mere toy ill-equipped formere toy ill-equipped for
serious work, but others wereserious work, but others were
delighted by its compact sizedelighted by its compact size
and ability to make up to 36and ability to make up to 36
exposures in rapid succession.exposures in rapid succession.
The Leica gave photographersThe Leica gave photographers
new flexibility, allowing them tonew flexibility, allowing them to
take sharp, detailed picturestake sharp, detailed pictures
under many conditions.under many conditions.
It was the forerunner of manyIt was the forerunner of many
35mm cameras which became35mm cameras which became
available later…available later…
Continual improvement overContinual improvement over
the years established the 35-the years established the 35-
mm camera, especially in itsmm camera, especially in its
single-lens reflex form, as thesingle-lens reflex form, as the
dominant camera for bothdominant camera for both
professionals and seriousprofessionals and serious
Technical developments inTechnical developments in
photographic equipmentphotographic equipment
In 1930 the highly dangerousIn 1930 the highly dangerous
flashpowder was largelyflashpowder was largely
replaced by flashbulbs.replaced by flashbulbs.
Newspaper Advert for FlashNewspaper Advert for Flash
At the Massachusetts InstituteAt the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, experimentsof Technology, experiments
with gas discharge flash tubeswith gas discharge flash tubes
led to the development of theled to the development of the
electronic flash, which couldelectronic flash, which could
produce astonishing imagesproduce astonishing images
made at exposures as brief asmade at exposures as brief as
1/10,000 second!1/10,000 second!
Thus the range & scope ofThus the range & scope of
photography was furtherphotography was further
extended with the developmentextended with the development
of convenient flash equipment inof convenient flash equipment in
the late 1920s and early 1930s.the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Although they originallyAlthough they originally
required expensive andrequired expensive and
cumbersome equipment,cumbersome equipment,
electronic flash units becameelectronic flash units became
so miniaturized that they couldso miniaturized that they could
be built into a pocket camera. be built into a pocket camera.
Another significant invention,Another significant invention,
Instant, or self-processing,Instant, or self-processing,
photography was invented byphotography was invented by
the American Edwin H. Land.the American Edwin H. Land.
He introduced the PolaroidHe introduced the Polaroid
Land camera, usingLand camera, using
monochrome film, in 1947, andmonochrome film, in 1947, and
a color version becamea color version became
available in 1963. available in 1963.
At the end of the century, theAt the end of the century, the
momentum of conventionalmomentum of conventional
photography thus developed atphotography thus developed at
a fast pace and the naturala fast pace and the natural
move was towards present daymove was towards present day
Digital Photography…Digital Photography…
Digital photo images began inDigital photo images began in
1985 with the first low cost1985 with the first low cost
camera from Canon called thecamera from Canon called the
Images were produced onImages were produced on
video disks that fit into thevideo disks that fit into the
camera and could becamera and could be
connected to a television setconnected to a television set
for viewing. for viewing.
The Kodak CD process cameThe Kodak CD process came
out in 1991 which allowedout in 1991 which allowed
images from any sourceimages from any source
including slides and negativesincluding slides and negatives
to be recorded on a compactto be recorded on a compact
Digital Photography has been aDigital Photography has been a
quantum leap forward &, much inquantum leap forward &, much in
the same manner as the Kodakthe same manner as the Kodak
Box Brownie, has further spreadBox Brownie, has further spread
photography worldwide, enablingphotography worldwide, enabling
nearly everyone to be able tonearly everyone to be able to
capture “an image” without thecapture “an image” without the
need for much technicalities.need for much technicalities.
With the fast development ofWith the fast development of
digital technologies and ofdigital technologies and of
communications devices, such ascommunications devices, such as
camera phones, photography hascamera phones, photography has
undergone a whole new andundergone a whole new and
exciting revolutionexciting revolution
……but that is another storybut that is another story
which is currently developingwhich is currently developing
at a frenetic pace…at a frenetic pace…
Although today, the mainAlthough today, the main
pioneers generally rememberedpioneers generally remembered
for the invention of photographyfor the invention of photography
are Fox Talbot & Daguerre …are Fox Talbot & Daguerre …
……In reality, it was more of aIn reality, it was more of a
concerted effort by many otherconcerted effort by many other
scientists, artists and inventorsscientists, artists and inventors
which has ultimately enabledwhich has ultimately enabled
photography to be enjoyed byphotography to be enjoyed by
the masses…the masses…
But, I think, the oneBut, I think, the one
important factor whichimportant factor which
maintains photography asmaintains photography as
such a fascinating, constantlysuch a fascinating, constantly
evolving art form, despite theevolving art form, despite the
continuing automation incontinuing automation in
cameras, technologycameras, technology
& software is that …& software is that …
The photographer's eye &The photographer's eye &
creativity remains all important.creativity remains all important.
No matter how sophisticatedNo matter how sophisticated
the camera, it is still thethe camera, it is still the
photographer who mustphotographer who must
choose what to photographchoose what to photograph
and in what manner.and in what manner.
To this day, Photography stillTo this day, Photography still
remains a unique human act ofremains a unique human act of