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The story behind the photo cameras

The story behind the photo cameras

Photography is an art, no question about that. You have to have some talent in order to take excellent photos and make a name for yourself in this industry. But the truth is, photography isn’t quite a novelty! In fact, it’s old. People have experimented with it for hundreds of years, but only in the last 200 years were we able to actually invent cameras that could take a proper photo.

In the beginning, it wasn’t easy. It never is easy, no matter what you’re trying to do. It wasn’t easy to learn to ride a bike, it wasn’t easy to learn to walk. But eventually, through practice, you were able to overcome the obstacles. Now you have no problem riding that bike or standing on your feet. That’s how things were with photography as well.


Back in the 1800s, we didn’t have digital cameras. We barely knew what a camera was. We didn’t have photos. And when people started experimenting with photography and cameras, they had to come up with various ways to make those photos last and not fade away. Because this was the major problem with the very first photos: they would fade away in a couple of hours if exposed to sunlight.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce took the first photo with a camera obscura

That was back in 1827, when Joseph Nicephore Niepce took the first photo with a camera obscura. Not too long after this, Louis Daguerre was able to create a new process of developing photos, that allowed him to keep the photos “fixed” and not fade away. Also, this reduced the exposure time, from 8 hours, to just 30 minutes. Yes, it took that long to take a photo back then!


Even so, there still was a problem that nobody managed to solve until the late 1800s: the size of the cameras. They were really big. Real monsters compared to those we use today. Heavy and huge would describe them the best. You couldn’t actually carry them around in your pocket. Plus, the photos taken weren’t instant and you’d have to wait for a couple of days to have them processed.

Kodak was one of the first companies that created some smaller and more practical cameras around 1889. These were much lighter, more compact and easier to transport. And from there on, things continued to change. In the late ’40, we were already able to take instant photos and in 1975, the first digital camera was invented by Kodak (we should thank Steven Sasson for this).

Steve first digital camera

In 1986, there was another breakthrough in camera technology: Fuji presented to the public the disposable (or single-use) camera, also known as QuickSnap, that came along with a 35 mm film. And by 1992, Kodak already created the professional digital camera.

As the internet grew larger and became available to more and more people, photo sharing sites started popping up beginning 1995. Steadily but surely, photo cameras made their way in mobile phones too, in 2000 and by 2011, about a quarter of the photos that were shot were taken with a smartphone.

Today, the technology keeps advancing and we witness other breakthroughs. We have better cameras, with better resolution, better battery life, which give us much more freedom to exercise our creative genius, no matter how professional or less professional we are!

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