Friday, January 15, 2010

Time line – history of photography.

• ancient times: camera obscuras used to form images on walls in darkened rooms; image formation via a pinhole

• Leonardo da Vinci, using his house as a so called camera obsura and improving the image with a lens, invited some friends to have a look.

• 16th century: brightness and clarity of camera obscuras improved by enlarging the hole inserting a telescope lens

• 1727: Professor J. Schulze mixes chalk, nitric acid, and silver in a flask; notices darkening on side of flask exposed to sunlight. Accidental creation of the first photosensitive compound.

• 1800: Thomas Wedgwood makes "sun pictures" by placing opaque objects on leather treated with silver nitrate; resulting images deteriorated rapidly, however, if displayed under light stronger than from candles.

• 1816: Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera obscura with photosensitive paper

• 1826: Niépce creates a permanent image

• 1834: Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.

• 1837: Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and "developed" with warmed mercury; Daguerre is awarded a state pension by the French government in exchange for publication of methods and the rights by other French citizens to use the Daguerreotype process.

• The invention of the daguerreotype process was announced by the Frenchman Louis Daguerre in 1839 and was widely acclaimed. The image produced had a startling clarity and made the daguerreotype hugely popular as a medium for portraiture until the middle of the 1850’s. To create a daguerreotype, a silver plated sheet was given a light sensitive surface coating of iodine vapour. After a long exposure in the camera, the image was developed over heated mercury and fixed in a solution of common salt. As the image lies on the surface of a highly polished plate, it is best seen from an angle to minimise reflections.

• 1841: Talbot patents his process under the name "calotype".

• William Henry Fox Talbot patented the Calotype process in 1841. It is the direct ancestor of modern photography because it used a negative permitting multiple positive prints to be made from the negative and development of the latent image. The negative was a sheet of high quality writing paper which had been made light-sensitive with chemicals. Because the image was contained in the fabric of the paper rather than on a surface coating, the paper fibres tended to show through in the prints making them mottled and relatively ‘sketchy’.

• The collotype process was used between about 1870 and 1920. A glass plate was coated with sensitised gelatin and exposed under a negative. Light passed through the negative would harden the gelatin on the glass plate. The unexposed gelatin would absorb the water when washed and the exposed would repel it. The washed glass plate would be coated with ink, adhering to the exposed gelatin and printed onto fine paper.

• 1871: Richard Leach Maddox, an English doctor, proposes the use of an emulsion of gelatin and silver bromide on a glass plate, the "dry plate" process. Gelatin silver prints are the most usual means of making black and white prints from negatives. They are papers coated with a layer of gelatin which contains light sensitive silver salts. They were developed in the 1870's and by 1895 had generally replaced albumen prints because they were more stable, did not turn yellow and were simpler to produce. Gelatin silver prints remain the standard black and white print type.

• The albumen print was invented in 1850 and was the most common type of print for the next 40 years. It produced a clearer image than its predecessor, the salted paper print. An albumen print was made by coating paper with a layer of egg white and salt to create a smooth surface. The paper was then coated with a layer of silver nitrate. The salt and silver nitrate combined to form light sensitive silver salts. This double coated paper could then be placed in contact with a negative and exposed to the sun to produce a print

• 1878: Dry plates being manufactured commercially.

• 1880: George Eastman, age 24, sets up Eastman Dry Plate Company in Rochester, New York. First half-tone photograph appears in a daily newspaper, the New York Graphic.

• 1888: first Kodak camera, containing a 20-foot roll of paper, enough for 100 2.5-inch diameter circular pictures.

• 1889: Improved Kodak camera with roll of film instead of paper

• 1900: Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera introduced.

• 1906: Availability of panchromatic black and white film and therefore high quality colour separation color photography.

• 1907: first commercial color film, the Autochrome plates, manufactured by Lumiere brothers in France

• 1914: Oscar Barnack, employed by German microscope manufacturer Leitz, develops camera using the modern 24x36mm frame and sprocket 35mm movie film.

• 1917: Nippon Kogaku K.K., which will eventually become Nikon, established in Tokyo.

• 1924: Leitz markets a derivative of Barnack's camera commercially as the "Leica", the first high quality 35mm camera.

• 1931: development of strobe photography by Harold ("Doc") Edgerton at MIT

• 1932: On March 14, George Eastman, aged 77, writes suicide note--"My work is done. Why wait?"--and shoots himself.

• 1934: Fuji Photo Film founded. By 1938, Fuji is making cameras and lenses in addition to film.

• 1936: development of Kodachrome, the first color multi-layered color film; development of Exakta, pioneering 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera

• World War II:
o development of multi-layer color negative films
o Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Carl Mydans, and W. Eugene Smith cover the war for LIFE magazine
• 1947: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour start the photographer-owned Magnum picture agency

• 1963: first color instant film developed by Polaroid; Instamatic released by Kodak; first purpose-built underwater introduced, the Nikonos

• 1980: Elsa Dorfman begins making portraits with the 20x24" Polaroid. An instant film, giving an almost immediate positive print.

• 1982: Sony demonstrates Mavica "still video" camera

• 1983: Kodak introduces disk camera, using an 8x11mm frame (the same as in the Minox spy camera)

• 1985: Minolta markets the world's first autofocus SLR system (called "Maxxum" in the US)

• 1992: Kodak introduces PhotoCD

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