History of photography


The photograph is a technique through which you can capture images using light and projecting it on a medium that can be physical or digital. Photography has a very old and interesting history and is mainly based on the principle of the camera obscura , an instrument that existed for many years.


What is the history of photography?

The history of photography is a series of interesting events and facts that begin in the 16th century with the invention of the camera obscura and that tell of the process that photography took to be what it is today.



One of the most relevant antecedents in the history of photography is undoubtedly the invention of the camera obscura , a visual instrument that was composed of a dark compartment that also had a small hole at one end, through this hole, the light could enter and in this way, projected the images on the background in an inverted way.


An instrument existed in ancient times, which many scholars recognize as the true forerunner of the photography we observe today. This was known by the name of daguerreotype and was an instrument that had been invented by Louis Daguerre . It was in fact the first process to obtain photographs with higher quality since it managed to project the images on silver surfaces , which had previously been polished.

Origin of photography

Many historians consider that the origin of photography was in France , mainly during the time when it was moving towards a more industrialized society that greatly favored technical innovation , but the true origin is in the Middle Ages, when Ibn Al -Haytham invented the first pinhole type camera better known as the camera obscura.


In 1827, Joseph Niepce managed to take the first photographic image using a camera obscura , which previously was only used to visualize objects or to draw. The process that I carried out to obtain a photo was too long since it lasted even more than eight hours when exposed to the sun, and after being exposed, the images disappeared. In 1829, Niepce entered into an alliance with Don Louis Daguerre to improve the process and in 1839, after Niepce’s death, Daguerre managed to develop a new method that was more effective, which he called the daguerreotype .

In 1839, Daguerre’s prototype was sold by his son to France and there it began to gain popularity that grew over time. Various inventions and developments have made photography evolve into what we know today.

George Eastman , in 1888, invented and developed the well-known Kodak camera which allowed the person to take many photographs through a roll of photosensitive paper that significantly improved exposure to light. At the end of the 19th century , the first tests related to color photographs began to be carried out and Gabriel Lippman in 1891 was the first person who managed to obtain a series of color images, a project that also earned him a Nobel Prize. in Physics .

In 1895, Luis Mante managed to invent an innovative procedure by means of which color photography could be obtained with good results and he called it mantochrome. Little by little the camera began to become more popular and to gain more fans. The first instant photo that was created was thanks to Edwin Land who with a Polaroid camera was able to take positive photos without having to extract the negative from it, since with the use of different chemicals, the photo was developed in just ten seconds.

The flash began to be used at the beginning of the 20th century, with a combination of magnesium powders that ignited when a switch was pressed, which caused a small explosion that created a light wave, but at the same time, it was polluting because it emanated a series of toxic gases. In 1930, the flash lamp was invented , which used electricity to produce the light wave.


Today’s photography begins its history in 1975 when Steve Sasson manages to develop a fully digital camera for the Kodak company for the first time. This was a camera that had 0.01 megapixels and lasted a total of 23 seconds to take a picture. In 1976, the Canon company also manufactured its first digital camera with the advantage that it also had a microprocessor and finally the Konica company , manufactured the first camera in history that had an autofocus .

Digital photography is the most recent that has been created and it was produced thanks to the vast amount of technology that is available today. The Computing Revolution that began in the twentieth century, made it possible for photographic rolls to remain in the past, just like the old process of developing photos by means of chemicals, while making the images were stored in computers or in different types of electronic formats.

Stages in the history of photography

The stages in the history of photography can be summarized as follows:

  • The beginning : at this stage is when the camera was invented, which at the time, did not have the great importance that it has today. It was not something aesthetic and much less was it seen as art. Photos were taken in black and white , sometimes using gray scales.
  • 1st Stage : it occurred between the year 1816 and the end of the 19th century. Photography was seen as a type of tool and with the passage of time it became more industrialized . It was used to capture photos of war and portraits mainly.
  • 2nd Stage : this stage took place at the end of the 19th century and in the 50s. Photography became independent and went from being a simple tool to gaining a more own language, its technical aspects also evolved. It was a very important stage as photography reached an equal place within the field of the arts . The initiation of the use of photography for advertising also took place, managing to be seen as a more artistic matter.
  • Stage 3 : this stage takes place between the years 1950 and 1990, a key stage for the photographic world as it was the moment when color began to be used at an industrial level .
  • 4th Stage : includes the years from 1950 to the current period where digital photography finally appears . A period of great and important changes in which the film was completely replaced by the use of the pixel.


One of the main reasons why photography plays a very important role is because it is an effective medium to be able to represent things in the world that otherwise could not be observed. They have a high power of information , it is a good method to obtain greater knowledge since many learnings can be achieved thanks to it and also, it is completely linked to the world of communication.

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