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Photography’s History

Photography’s History

Do you know the origins of modern photography?

Even though digital photography is here and we are using less and less film, lighting and other techniques started in the 1820’s. Niepce and Daguerre were the first to use modern photography. They¬†made a chemical compound out of silver and chalk on a glass plate that would darken when it was exposed to light, creating a negative image of the scene.

Starting with the old, or early, cameras we have seen as props is western movies that used glass plates we have progressed to manual cameras that used film. Film capture a reverse image (a negative) on a sheet or roll to be developed in a darkroom. The photographer had to set up their shots with manual cameras. They had to understand film speed, aperture, shutter speed, and how to measrue or approximate the amount of light. All of that took time and was expensive which meant you had to be a professional photographer to create a good photograph..

The aperture is what regulates the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the lens, it is measured in f-stops. Sharp focus and depth-of-field need to be considered when adjusting the f-stop. The proper f-stop has to be used to avoid over or under exposure and blurring.

¬†Shutter speed measures how much time the medium (film or digital) is exposed to capture the image. When there is not enough light coming through the lens the shutter will have to remain open longer. If the exposure is too long the subject’s motion, or a shaky hold on the camera, or both, will cause blurring.

Things changed dramatically when we moved from the manual camera to modern cameras. Cameras became lighter, exposure (shutter speed, aperature, light measurement) became programed by setting the film speed on the camera.

Digital cameras are the latest evelution in photography. We are now able to take pictures without the need of film or the darkroom. We can see the picture on the camera’s LCD screen imediately after taking it. Now we can send a photograph to anybody with and email address and internet access and use a home printer to make our prints. Photography has progressed from a select few who were able to make a photograph to virtually anyone on the planet. Photography is now an art form that anybody can participate in.

That is not saying professional photographers are a thing of the past. Not at all. High quality, professional, photographs are still in great demand. Knowledge of light is still essential when working with digital cameras. An understanding of the techniques used in the past will only assist you in capturing the perfect image using your own digital camera.

Photography originated from just a few people, but anybody can see where the art and science of photography has led us.