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History of Photography: Earliest Photography

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items arranged on a table
Still Life in the Artist's Studio  photo by Louis Daguerre
​Used under Artstor Terms and Conditions
In the collection of the Société Française de Photographie, Paris.

Early Photography

The forerunner of the camera was the camera obscura, a dark chamber or room with a hole (later a lens) in one wall, through which images of objects outside the room were projected on the opposite wall. The principle was probably known to the Chinese and to ancient Greeks such as Aristotle more than 2,000 years ago. Late in the 16th century, the Italian scientist and writer Giambattista della Porta demonstrated and described in detail the use of a camera obscura with a lens. While artists in subsequent centuries commonly used variations on the camera obscura to create images they could trace, the results from these devices depended on the artist’s drawing skills, and so scientists continued to search for a method to reproduce images completely mechanically.

-Encyclopedia Britannica


Photography refers to any method of recording the image of an object through the action of light, or related radiation, on a light-sensitive material. The word, derived from the Greek photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”), was first used in the 1830s.

-Encyclopedia Britannica

Photographer Unknown
Sergeant Andrew Smith,                PD
55th Massachusetts Infantry,
American Civil War
Winner, Medal of Honor
Born:September 3, 1843
Died: March 4, 1932 (aged 88)


How Edward Muybridge Made his Photos

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