Important Contributions in the History of Photography

The modern convenience and innovations of cameras today are evident from the ingenuity of inventors and contributors throughout history. Dating back to the ancient times, there was a multitude of those whose experimentations contributed to the succession of photography.

The nineteenth century realized the harmonious joining of all of the elemental ideas and inventions of the camera, processes, and materials. Photography had entered the modern world through the wormhole!


Important Moments in History



Camera Obscura

Created Around the Fifth Century B.C.

Before photography came into being, many understood the principles behind the successful art of capturing images. Not having a method to print or develop a photograph, the art of preserving the image could be projected onto a wall or a piece of paper. The instrument they used to capture and to project the images was referred to as a “camera obscura.”



Created throughout both eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Several centuries after the invention of the camera obscura, the method to preserve and process a photo was brought forth. In 1725, it was discovered that silver salts darkened when it was exposed to light. As time passed, others built upon this discovery perfecting the chemicals needed to produce the perfect photograph.



In 1837, it was discovered that a faint image could be produced by exposing iodized silver plates to light. Using mercury fumes, the image could be developed into a photograph. This technique not only cut down the exposure time but helped to sharpen the image. Daguerre named his newly found method to process, “Daguerreotype.” His ingenuity traveled the world quickly causing the explosive presence of the photography industry and giving way to photography as an art form!



A British inventor presented his discovery of processing photos in 1841 with calotype. Sheets of photosensitive paper were exposed to light producing an inferred image that became a photograph when rinsing with hyposulphite. Although the results were not as clear as Daguerreotyping, this method was found by photographers to be an easy process and have the ability to make numerous copies from one negative.


Wet Collodion Process

In 1851 the Daguerreotypes and Calotypes were discarded after a new method was brought forward by a sculptor. This method yielded a crisper image with negatives that could be reused. Collodion (a chemical used in medical dressing) was used to coat light-sensitive liquids onto plates made of glass. These plates had to be exposed and then processed before applying the collodion otherwise the collodion would dry and harden. This process was used in producing the photos of the Civil War.


Dry Plates

A new photographic plate containing preserved silver salts in gelatin became the choice of use by photographers. Quick exposure time using these plates allowed cameras to capture moving objects. A series of studies on humans and animals in motion was done using these plates. These plates paved the way for the cinema industry.


Flexible Roll Film

The mid-1880s saw the birth of rolls of film which was lightweight and much more easy to use. This enabled photographers to take a succession of photos. The Eastman Kodak camera brought the world of photography to the hands of the consumers.



Color photography arrived in 1907 by adding dyed potato starch grains to an emulsion.

Reigning as the most popular film until 1935 when Eastman Kodak introduced Kodachrome film!


Digital Photography

1975 was the year Eastman Kodak introduced the first digital camera.


Smartphone Cameras

Photography continues to evolve as it reaches further into the future. Smartphones brought photography to the forefront of the modern age with the world’s first camera phone. Samsung presented the first smartphone camera in 2000 with a flip phone.

We have seen more innovations arise making the smartphone far more high tech savvy with photographic capabilities.

 One can only wonder what the future brings in the world of photography!