The History Of Photography Essay

2277 words - 9 pages

The History of Photography

The name "Photography" comes from the Greek words for light and writing. Sir John Herschel, was the first to use the term photography in 1839, when he managed to fix images using hyposulphite of soda. He described photography as "The application of the chemical rays to the purpose of pictorial representation". Herschel also coined the terms "negative", "positive" and "snapshot".

But a man called de la Roche (1729 - 1774), wrote Giphantie and in this imaginary tale, it was possible to capture images from nature, on a canvas which had been coated with a sticky substance and this would produce a mirror image on the sticky canvas, that fixed after it had been dried in the dark.

There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible and these two processes have existed for hundreds of years, but it was not until the two they had been put together that photography came into being. The first of these two processes was the Camera Obscura, which had been in existence for at least four hundred years. The second process was chemical. People had been aware, for hundreds of years before photography, that some colours are bleached by the sun, but they made little distinction between heat, air and light.

The Camera Obscura, which means Dark Room in Latin, was a dark box or room with a small hole on one wall, which projected an inverted image on the opposite wall. This principle was known by thinkers as early as Aristotle, around 300 BC. In the 10th century, an Arabian scholar Hassan ibn Hassan, described what could be called a camera obscura in his writings "On the form of the Eclipse". He wrote "The image of the sun at the time of the eclipse, unless it is total, demonstrates that when its light passes through a narrow, round hole and is cast on a plane opposite to the hole it takes on the form of a moon-sickle...".

The earliest record of the uses of a camera obscura can be found in the writings and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). At about the same period Daniel Barbaro, a Venetian, recommended the camera as an aid to drawing. He wrote:

"Close all shutters and doors until no light enters the camera except through the lens, and opposite hold a piece of paper, which you move forward and backward until the scene appears in the sharpest detail. There on the paper you will see the whole view as it really is, with its distances, its colours and shadows and motion, the clouds, the water twinkling, the birds flying. By holding the paper steady you can trace the whole perspective with a pen, shade it and delicately colour it from nature."

In the mid sixteenth century Giovanni Battista della Porta (1538-1615) made a huge "camera" in which he seated his guests, having arranged a group of actors to perform outside so that the visitors could watch the images on the wall. But the sight of upside down performing images was too much for the visitors and they panicked...

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