History of Photography and its Influences

Essay by pittsburghkid999College, UndergraduateA+, March 2007

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The evolution of photography to where it is today is a long tale that spans 2 centuries of partial victories, good luck and big mistakes. Some may claim that Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre is the originator of photography but first we must look at other technologies and pieces of equipment that led to Daguerre’s domination of photography in 1839. We first must look at photography itself and what that entails. We see that to make photography work we need separate scientific objects that we knew existed but it was a matter of combining these items. Oddly enough, since these separate entities were known by much of the people, photography could have been born much earlier, as early as the 1500’s.

One of the most notable inventions was the camera obscura, which in easier terms was simply a “dark room”. The camera obscura was not imaginative and lacked any personal artistic qualities; many of the drawings from this machine were formal, firm and boring.

Nonetheless, the camera obscure proved that such great invention could induce other ideas and inventions that would lead to photography today.

January 7th, 1839 could be a day that lives in infamy with regards to photography. This is the day that Daguerre announced the discovery of the daguerreotype. The qualities of daguerreotypes were quite impressive but now looking back it certainly lacked some things. Each daguerreotype was its unique because they could not be mass reproduced. Each surface is extremely delicate and must be kept under glass or another protector. One early example of a daguerreotype was Clausel who took a photo of a Landscape near Troyes, France using ranges of gray tones. Daguerreotypes gave you the room to work with dark/light tones to set a mood for each daguerreotype. The idea behind the daguerreotype seems more scientific than...