The History Of Photography: Past Through Present.

Essay by Bubbles3k April 2003

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Pause for a moment and think about the word "camera." What is the first image that comes to mind? For most people, the image that is evoked is of a modern day disposable camera or an SLR camera. The origins of the "camera" go much farther back than what most people encounter on a day to day basis.

The first "Camera" resembles a small house to sit in rather than a portable light tight box. Known as a camera obscura, typically an artist would stand inside. A small hole in one of the walls would project the image outside onto the opposing wall. The image appears in color and due to laws of refraction also appears upside down and smaller than life scale. First appearing in the middle ages, camera obscuras were made popular by artists who used them in aid of landscape painting. During the Renaissance the lens made images inside the camera more clear and larger.

Eventually the camera obscura would shrink in size to a box that is lighter and portable. Today these are known as pinhole cameras and are used to teach beginning photography students how modern cameras are based.

The first development of transferring the images produced by camera obscuras was discovered by Johann Schulze in 1725. He found that silver salts changed color when exposed to light. Granted, not the white and black we are used to today, the first salts changed from white to purple. The problem encountered is that it is not permanent. Though this seems just a minor accomplishment, this is the cornerstone of all of modern day photography.

In 1826, a man by the name Joseph Niepce would become the man to produce the first permanent image on an object. His first image was taken from his workroom window out...