Categorized | P-Town Spotlight

How photography came to be

By Mariah Killian


The history of photography is quite interesting. By studying it, you really see how much it takes to make one thing that is seen as small to us, what it is today. A long time ago something amazing was created, or at least started with Aristotle who discovered camera obscura.  His discovery in camera obscura is that a darkened room in which light enters carries a reflection of an image onto a wall. This small discovery would eventually turn into something huge over the years, because camera obscura is what holds everything in the history of photography together.

The next person to pick up Aristotle’s work was the famous Leonardo da Vinci. He picked up his work, trying to understand the eye better to perfect his idea of the perfect body. So he took camera obscura and made it portable, added a lense and made it into a tracing tool. This would lead into Thomas Wedgwood and Joseph Niepce’s work. In the 1800’s Wedgwood made photography paper, however he did not have the chemicals to make the image stay.  Later Niepce  found a way to capture the image, using mercury, and a metal plate. He called this the heliograph, which produced a picture of a courtyard. Later a businessman Louis Daguerre came to Niepce and told him the problems with his heliograph, and they became partners. Soon after Niepce died, and six years later Daguerre came out with the Daguerreotype, not giving Niepce any credit.

Taking a step further into the history of photography, however, all kinds of new things were coming out. There was the calotype, which was paper print pictures, but they had been ignored at the time. Then the ambrotype came out, which was glass instead of metal, and later the tintype came out, which was well pictures made onto tin. It is truly amazing to think that something so small to us started with one man’s idea pushed down through generations. This is why history is important, to know where even the smallest of things have come to be, and how they can be important.

Leave a Reply