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Over the years photography has helped us share memories and moments with the people we love. Photography sets a mood and gives us a way of remembering our pasts. There is always that one question though. Where did it come from? Reading on will help you understand who, where, and when this invention all began.

The word “photography” comes from the Greek language. The two words, photo, meaning “light”, and grapho, meaning “writing”, evolved its name, photography. “Writing with light” interested Greek and Chinese scholars to start experimenting with light. Using reflections from different objects, they can produce images. It took hundreds of years for anyone to figure this out which made the discovery more exciting. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 6-8) Giovanni Battista del la Porta presented the first image in front of an Italian audience. The people were amazed to see how the upside-down picture flipped and came alive on the wall. The audience didn’t know about the pinhole in the wall where projected light was passing through. This is called Camera Obscura. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 8-10)

Cameras started off being a big, heavy, wooden box. Arab scientist studied the sun using a camera obscura. Camera obscura means “dark box” or “dark room” in Latin, using sunlight which entered a hole in the box and displayed an image on the screen. By the 16th century, the hole became lens. (Franklin Watts, pg. 7-9, Tolmachev, Ivan.)

Many artists started coming up with their own ways of using Camera Obscura including Johann Schulze who later helped the journey of photography. In 1760, a frenchman named Tiphaigne de la Roche made history with his famous prediction. He proposed using a sticky substance on the canvas would help with the image’s appearance. De la Roche’s prediction came true a few decades after his death. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 10-11)

In the 19th century, pictures could be kept by using a sheet of material inside the box. This allowed people to see places they may never visit. They could see how other countries dressed, how the rich and poor lived, and for the first time, how war was. With Daguerre’s new invention, the Daguerreotype photography was created. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 9-12) This reduced light exposure time from eight hours to just a half hour. The “daguerreotype” was made famous and was bought over by the French government within a few months. Daguerre’s instruction manual was translated into a dozen languages all over the world. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 13) Scientists then started putting together light and chemicals knowing this could become something big known as the birth of photography. Thomas Wedgwood was the first to capture a silhouette temporarily using a chemical called silver nitrate. No one knew how to keep it permanent until 1826 when Nicephore Niepce successfully produced a permanent image. He later became partners with Louis Daguerre who continued experimenting even after his death. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 12, Wikipedia.)

Scientists started putting light and chemicals together knowing this could become something big known as the birth of photography. Thomas Wedgwood was the first to capture a silhouette temporarily using a chemical called silver nitrate. No one knew how to keep it permanent until 1826 when Nicéphore Niépce successfully produced a permanent image. He later became partners with Louis Daguerre who continued experimenting even after his death. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 12)

Americans were very excited about the Daguerreotype. Daguerre and Samuel Morse, a painter & inventor, exchanged ideas about the Daguerreotype giving the U.S. an advantage on photography. Morse and his partner, John Draper, came up with their own version two months before the actual release. The Daguerreotype became very popular but had limitations such as its small size, weight of the metal, they were very fragile as to any marking could ruin the image, and there was no negative to make copies of any kind. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 16&18) In 1843, an entire photo industry developed in the United States. People were now able to afford their own portraits no matter how wealthy they were. Portrait studios and big-city galleries opened all over the United States and newspapers started being printed with pictures. Publishers began printing books with pictures of the world and magazines started publishing with images of farms, churches, people, and nature. By 1851, pictures only needed two to three seconds of exposure time and grew even more. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 18-19)

George Eastman, inventor of Kodak camera, made photography available to everyone. He was born in New York on July 12th, 1854 during the Daguerreotype’s appearance. Eastman’s interest in photography developed while planning a vacation to take pictures. He never did go, but continued his liking towards photography. This is when he created his own process that could take multiple pictures. In 1880, he opened his own business called the “Eastman Company”. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 22-23) Eastman’s goal was “to make the camera as convenient as a pencil”. His first accomplishment was loading photographic paper onto a roll holder allowing people to take pictures and develop later instead of one after another. In 1885, Eastman created film that had the ability to hold multiple pictures. This “film” fit dozens of photos and provided a clearer image than paper would. Surprisingly, only a few people used his new invention. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 24)

Eastman was particularly fond of the letter “K”. Therefore, he created a name that both started and ended with the letter. The first Kodak products were advertised in newspapers and magazines written by himself. In 1888, he created Kodak’s slogan, “You press the button, and we do the rest.” Kodak was a big step in the continuation of photography and eliminated the hassle of big photography equipment. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 26-27)

When film is struck by light, it’s coating of chemicals changes, known as the emulsion. Color film has three light sensitive layers, each sensitive to either red, green, or blue. When the film is treated with chemicals, three colors each form on top of each other. The paper inside is also treated with chemicals which finishes the final print. (Franklin Watts, pg. 18) Eastman believed that photo taking should be available to all people no matter what you could afford. By 1896, the Eastman Company had produced 100,000 Kodak cameras and manufactured about 400 miles of film per month. Kodak cameras cost five dollars but Eastman wasn’t satisfied so he reduced it to only one dollar. In 1900, he created a small camera called the Brownie. By doing all of this, he gave the world the ability to take pictures by doing nothing more than pressing a button. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 27, Wikipedia.)

The word photography comes from the two Greek words, phos and graphos. This means to “write with light”. Good lighting is very important for great quality. By combining certain lights, photographers can create certain moods or atmospheres. Professionals use an instant camera to check if everything is perfect before using normal film. (Franklin Watts, pg. 24) Film now has to be sent to a processing laboratory to be developed. An instant camera can use a special type of film that develops by itself. Each picture slides out as soon as it’s taken. It is fully developed within a minute. As it leaves the camera, it is coated with photographic chemicals. (Franklin Watts, pg. 20) In order for the picture to be perfect, there must be the correct amount of light. There are two ways of adjusting it. Changing the shutter speed varies the length of time the shutter is open. Changing the aperture alters the size of the hole that allows light in. Most cameras nowadays can do that automatically. (Franklin Watts, pg. 16)

Having a picture taken in a professional studio was a special moment for people. Therefore, they wore their best clothes in order to look good. In Victorian pictures, people often look stiff. This was because of the duration of the picture capture which made it difficult to look relaxed. It was also hard to smile for a long time so they often had a blank expression. Victorian photos often had a brown tint called sepia made from the liquid squirted out by a cuttlefish. (Franklin Watts, pg.12&14) When filming a scene, a tape machine and a camera are started. A clapstick is snapped in front of the camera and “Action!” is yelled by the director. Later, the sound is put into each scene. This makes sure that each picture is exact with each sound. The lighting, sound, camera, and equipment are all put together by a filming crew. (Franklin Watts, pg. 31) The scenes are then joined together with a splicing machine. Some scenes might not even be used at all. Some movies put in the “Deleted Scenes” to show you how the movie could have been different. (Franklin Watts, pg. 32)

Photography then started merging into the computer age. This major change in the United States had amazed many throughout the 1990’s. The major movie Snow White was restored in 1993 using digital codes. Computers transferred microscopic pixels and displayed the image on the screen. Nowadays, we have the capability to add artistic effects, textures, and designs to a picture within seconds. Photos can be sent through the internet in color around the world. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 30)

Photography is used to see things that are not able to be seen. Cameras are carried by spy planes and satellites to take pictures from the sky. X-rays produce images of people and objects on the inside. The camera can get through muscle and skin but not bone. These pictures allow doctors to see problems occurring not seen from the outside. (Franklin Watts, pg. 26) In the 1830’s, people created toys that made a series of pictures on a spinning disc. Each picture looked a little different than before. When shown quickly, they create a moving picture. Photographs were then placed on long strips of film. This became known as the cinema industry. (Franklin Watts, pg. 28)

By the middle of the 20th century, the camera became a common item with multiple uses. People everywhere were now taking portraits of whatever they pleased at such little cost. Scientists came up with the idea of x-rays creating a huge breakthrough in medicine. Thomas Edison came out with the “motion picture camera” for news coverage and entertainment. The creation of microfilm allowed banks and libraries to copy and store info. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 28) Newspapers and television newsrooms now receive pictures within a few seconds after they are taken. Hospitals can send medical images to other hospitals when needed. Many people create online photo albums and share them with others. Many social networks have the ability to post pictures such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and others. Cell phones now have the ability to take pictures and send them to friends. The photographic world changes rapidly all starting off with a reflection on a wall. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 28, Sullivan, Connor R.)

Inventions such as home movie cameras, photocopiers, underwater cameras and space cameras all developed during the 20th century. In 1962, John Glenn was first to orbit the earth using a special camera to film the whole journey. In 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong used another camera to film the first step on the moon. Photographs of the moon were brought back & studied. These pictures amazed many as it was the first time they’ve seen what they have been curious about for centuries. (Sue Vander Hook, pg. 28-29)

A camera has many parts to it. The hole in the front with the lens called the aperture allows light to pass through and fall onto the film inside. When the camera isn’t in use, a shutter keeps the film in total darkness. By pressing the button, the shutter opens and light enters the lens producing a clear image on the film. The shutter is closed again and is wound on, ready for the next photograph. (Franklin Watts, pg. 14) There are several different cameras. The most popular are compact cameras and the single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. A compact camera can fit easily into your pocket while a SLR camera gives more control over the shutter speed, aperture, and focus. The SLR uses multiple types of lenses. Also, the disposable camera which is used once, developed, and then thrown away. (Franklin Watts, pg. 22)

Special effects help set a mood for the audience. Some create places that don’t exist or events that never happened even though they appear real when on the screen. Tiny models can be made to look as if they were huge in real life. Even dinosaurs and monsters are brought to life on the cinema screen. (Franklin Watts, pg. 36) Animated films also bring things to life. Events that can barely be seen can be slowed or stopped. The secret is the time reveal between photographs. Speeding up the camera makes things appear in slow motion while the film is being shown while slowing it down speeds it up. With animated characters, the actor’s voice can be made to match the character’s face. This is all possible through photographic evolution. (Franklin Watts, pg. 35)

The camera has influenced many by capturing a life and putting it onto paper. It makes sure those special moments don’t go to waste and can be relived. Photography has influenced me not just because of my love for editing and taking pictures, but also for the feelings and emotions it can bring to a person’s face. Photography doesn’t just forever hold memories on a strip of film, but gives you your life in review at the click of a button