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Photography Through the Ages

Wednesday 25th March 2015

It's almost impossible to live a day of life in the 21st century without seeing hundreds of photographs every day. Whether they're covering your favorite website or just the billboards on the way to work, photographs have become a major part of our lives - but they've only become so over the last 50 years. It's hard to imagine a world where the best pictures we could have of our loved ones were expensively painted portraits or even simple sketches, but it's not so far behind us.  
 
The first camera, known as a camera obscura, was in use by many ancient cultures, but these early cameras were only able to project a negative image onto a surface, because photographic film had not yet been invented. For many centuries, they were simple curiosities, but like all good ideas, the camera was bound to have its day.
 
Cameras have quite a long history beyond being curiosities, though. In fact, some people insist that the famous European painter Vermeer and many other artists in the 17th and 18th centuries made use of a camera obscura to help paint their masterpieces, which were admired for their perfect perspective and incredible attention to detail. This has never been proven, but it is a popular and controversial argument that has many scholarly supporters. 
 
By the time the 19th century rolled around, many people were experimenting with early cameras, but once George Eastman invented celluloid photographic film in the late 1800s, the camera truly took hold in people's imagination. His first camera, 'Kodak', (which the company was eventually named for), was a success, but his next model, the Brownie, was so successful that it was on sale from 1900 all the way to the 1960s, although it had been improved a lot along the way.
 
The thing that was truly unique about the Brownie was that it was the first camera to really make snapshots possible for the average person. Suddenly everyone had a way to remember their family, friends, and experiences in a way that had never been possible before. No doubt, Eastman would have loved the modern world of digital photography we live in now, where anyone with a camera and an internet connection can send a picture around the globe in less time than it takes to read this post!
 

Posted on March 25th 2015 on 04:44pm
Labels: photography

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