Today, like every August 19, marks the World Photography Day, and we though to give you a brief lesson in the history of photography.
It was first in August 19, 2009 that the World Photography Day was celebrated in honor of the photograph, acknowledging its role and importance throughout history. The date August 19 is important in the history of photography, because on August 19, 1839 the French government bought the patent for the first photograph, and announced it a gift “free to the world”.
The Daguerreotype, or the first photograph, had been patented a few months earlier by Louis Daguerre, and was processed using an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapour.
First used by Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839, the word photograph, originates from the Greek words Photo, meaning light and Graphein, meaning to draw. Photography, or to draw light became the official word of creating an image by capturing light.
The first modern photograph might have been taken as recently as the 19th century, but what is technically a camera has been around for a whole lot longer.
The Arab scientist Ibn Al-Haytham (Alhazen in latinization) invented the pinhole camera somewhere around the year 1000 AD. Also called the Camera Obscura, it was made possible by Aristotle’s notes from 330 BC.
But the history of photography itself started on one summer day in 1827, when the French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce used a Camera Obscura to make what was to become the first photographic image. This was in fact the first time the Camera Obscura was used to let light draw a picture, whereas it was used before to simply view or draw images.
Even though groundbreaking, Niepce’s photograph needed eight hours of light exposure to produce an image. But after a decade, his fellow Frenchman, Louis Daguerre invented a more time efficient method to develop photographs. Daguerre’s method only required some 30 minutes of light exposure, and was better preserved.
With today’s digital photography most people carry high definition cameras in their smartphones. According to a 2014 study, around 1.8 billion photos are uploaded to the internet everyday. That means that people from all over the world upload more than 657 billion photos per year, and take more photos per second than existed in total 150 years ago.