Hassleblads on the moon and other fun facts! Read this list of cool photography trivia to help celebrate World Photography Day, August 19th.

In honor of World Photography Day, August 19, the Skylum Team thought it might be “phun” to celebrate together with some photo trivia. This passion for capturing moments has been around for an awfully long time and there's more out there than you might think. We did some research and compiled this little list of fun facts that you may or may not know about the world of the shutterbug. Enjoy!

1. The first device made to project an image on a surface was the camera obscura, or “dark room” in Latin. The principle was first recorded by Mozi, a Chinese philosopher. (ca. 470 to ca. 391 BC). It was the basis for what we know as a pinhole camera.

A 20-minute exposure taken with a pinhole camera. ©Ewan McGregor – shared under CC CC BY-SA 3.0

2. The pinhole camera is one of the few safe ways to view the sun, making it an excellent way to view the August 21 solar eclipse.

3. The first camera capable of recording an image used a process invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. The complex process was named for the inventor as “Daguerreotype”.

Image by Susanna Celeste Castelli, DensityDesign Research Lab. Shared under CC license CC BY-SA 4.

And you thought digital post-processing was tough!

4. Daguerre's process was used in what's said to be the world's oldest camera, built by French firm Susse Freres. The camera, thought to have been made before 1839, was found in an attic in Germany. The camera sold to an online bidder for $792,33 at a Vienna auction, which also makes it the world's most expensive camera! (Fox News/AP, May 27, 2007)

5. The world's most expensive photograph, Rhein II, was taken in 1999 by Andreas Gursky. In 2011, it fetched an incredible $4,338,500 at auction in Christie's of New York!

6. The oldest known surviving photograph is View from the Window at Le Gras, taken by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. It took about 8 hours to develop!

7. The world's first color photo, pictured below, was made in 1861 from 3 separate photographs taken through red, green and blue filters, then projected onto a photosensitive plate with corresponding filters. This method was suggested in1861 by Thomas Sutton.

8. Thomas Sutton was also the inventor of the SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera and developed the first panoramic camera, using a water-filled lens to project an image on a curved photographic plate.

9. The first photograph of a total solar eclipse was taken by made by Julius Berkowski on July 28, 1851. To learn how to capture it this month, see the Ultimate Amateur's Guide on our blog.

Skylum has assembled a FREE set of solar eclipse presets for Luminar, to make processing your eclipse shots a snap!

10. Digital imaging is good for the environment! Many darkroom chemicals are toxic and dangerous to handle. Disposing of them by pouring them down the drain or other conventional means is polluting. Pat yourself on the back next time you open your processing software!

11. The world's largest camera collection belongs to Dilish Parekh of Mumbai. He owns approximately 4,500 cameras!

12. The word “photography” is derived from the Greek words photos (light) and graphé (representation by means of lines). It literally means “drawing with light”!

13. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than the whole of humanity in the 1800s.

14. There are 12 Hasselblad cameras on the surface of the moon. They were left there to leave room for the moon rocks brought back to Earth. The film magazines, of course, made the return flight.


15. Steve Sasson of Eastman Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975. It weighed eight pounds, recorded the image on a cassette tape and took 23 seconds to “snap” a picture. Oh, and the resolution? 0.01 megapixels!


16. Here's one for your friends that don't like “manipulated” images. The photos of the iconic, early 20th Century American photographer Ansel Adams were often manipulated in the darkroom. The most common adjustments were dodging and burning.

The Tetons and the Snake River, by Ansel Adams (1942)

17. The concept of HDR images isn't new. Photographers have always needed to overcome the limited dynamic range of photographic media. Gustave Le Gray, a photographer in the 1800's was known to combine two separate images (water and sky) to better capture the wide luminosity range.

The Great Wave, Sète - Gustave Le Gray

18. Wikipedia currently divides photography into 80 genres and 10 sub-genres.

19. According to Guinness, the world's longest photo negative is over 260 feet long!

20. Over 10 million photos have been edited in Aurora HDR and shared to social networks.

We hope you've enjoyed this little series of significant (and not-so-much) facts as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you. Keep the “phun” going by sharing your interesting photo facts in our Facebook group with the tag #photo_facts.

Have a fantastic World Photography Day!