Photography

Photography is the process of recording pictures by means of capturing light on a light-sensitive medium, such as a film or electronic sensor. Light patterns reflected or emitted from objects expose a sensitive silver halide based chemical or electronic medium during a timed exposure, usually through a photographic lens in a device known as a camera that also stores the resulting information chemically or electronically.

Photography is the result of combining several technical discoveries. For example, long before the first photographs were made, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965–1040) invented the camera obscura and pinhole camera. But 'modern' Photography as a usable process goes back to the 1820s with the development of chemical photography.

The first permanent photograph was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. However, the picture took eight hours to expose, so he went about trying to find a new process. Working in conjunction with Louis Daguerre, they experimented with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1724 that a silver and chalk mixture darkens when exposed to light. Niépce died in 1833, but Daguerre continued the work, eventually culminating with the development of the daguerreotype in 1839.

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Meanwhile, Hercules Florence had already created a very similar process in 1832, naming it Photographie, and William Fox Talbot had earlier discovered another means to fix a silver process image but had kept it secret. After reading about Daguerre's invention, Talbot refined his process so that it might be fast enough to take photographs of people. By 1840, Talbot had invented the calotype process, which creates negative images. John Herschel made many contributions to the new methods. He invented the cyanotype process, now familiar as the "blueprint". He was the first to use the terms "photography", "negative" and "positive".

Many more advances in photographic plates and printing were made in through the nineteenth century. In 1884, George Eastman developed the technology of film to replace photographic plates, leading to the technology used by film - as opposed to digital - cameras today.


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