Photography has existed for a long time and the photography world has grown at an amazing pace. What was once an arduous process that took hours to complete, with heavy and complicated equipment to master and handle, now takes literally seconds. You can just pull out your phone, open an app, touch a virtual button, and take a photo.
This amazing transformation of the art form has given photography a rich history and an exciting present. That’s why we’re honoring the art of photography by highlighting some fun facts about photography that you may have never heard.
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, around 470 to 391 BCE. The camera obscura 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. A 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. During the 1800s, one of the most popular subjects for photography were dead bodies. While it was primarily famous people who were photographed, many regular folks were also photographed after their deaths.
4. Kodak, the photography giant, was founded in 1888. When George Eastman, its founder, was asked why it was named Kodak, he said that “K” sounded like a strong letter to him and that the name itself had no real meaning.
5. The first camera capable of recording an image used a process invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. This complex process was named for the inventor as the 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!
6. A 1923 prototype from Leica’s O-Series holds the record for being the most expensive camera ever sold. Leicas are known for their excellent image quality and unique colors, so it’s fitting that this title is held by a Leica.
If you want Leica-like colors and looks for your photos, Skylum’s photo editor has a number of presets and controls to help you get there!
7. 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. It sold to an online bidder for $792,330 at a Vienna auction in 2007, which also makes it one of the world's most expensive cameras! (Fox News/AP, May 27, 2007)
8. 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 in New York!
9. Potassium chloride and aluminium were part of the flash powder that was used before the advent of the electronic flash. These often led to violent explosions if not mixed correctly, so the process of photography wasn’t always as pleasant as it may be today.
10. The oldest known surviving photograph is View from the Window at Le Gras, taken by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. It took about eight hours to expose!
11. The world’s first color photo, pictured below, was made in 1861 from three separate photographs taken through red, green, and blue filters, then projected onto a photosensitive plate with corresponding filters. This method was suggested in 1861 by Thomas Sutton.
12. The Afghan Girl didn’t become aware of her own global fame, after becoming the subject of one of the most popular photographs of the twentieth century, until almost twenty years after her photo was taken.
This photo is an excellent example of portrait photography. If you’d like to get some help with your own portrait photos, Skylum’s editor can help you out.
13. 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.
14. The first photograph of a total solar eclipse was taken by Julius Berkowski on July 28, 1851. To learn how to capture the solar eclipse 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!
15. Anyone who knows anything about photography is familiar with Adobe Photoshop. But most people don’t know that the software was originally developed by the Knoll brothers in 1987 and titled ImagePro. It was then bought by Adobe and turned into Photoshop.
16. 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 through other conventional means is polluting. Pat yourself on the back the next time you open your photo editing software!
17. The world’s largest camera collection belongs to Dilish Parekh of Mumbai. He owns approximately 4,500 cameras!
18. The word photography is derived from the Greek words photos (light) and graphé (representation by means of lines). It literally means drawing with light!
19. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than all humankind did in the entirety of the 1800s.
20. The equivalent f-stop values for the human eye are f/8.3 in bright environments and f/2 in the dark.
21. 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.©NASA
22. Steve Sasson of Eastman Kodak invented the first digital camera in 1975. It weighed eight pounds, recorded an image on a cassette tape, and took 23 seconds to “snap” a picture. Oh, and the resolution? 0.01 megapixels!©Kodak
23. Here’s one for your friends that don't like “manipulated” images. The photos of the iconic, early twentieth-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)
24. 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 of water and sky to better capture the wide luminosity range.The Great Wave, Sète - Gustave Le Gray
25. Wikipedia currently divides photography into 80 genres and 10 sub-genres.
26. If you’ve used Windows XP in your lifetime, you know the default wallpaper. It’s the world’s’ most viewed photo.
27. According to Guinness, the world’s longest photo negative is over 260 feet long!
28. Over 10 million photos have been edited in Aurora HDR and shared to social networks.
If you weren’t aware of these photography facts, you’re sure to have found some interesting things about the art form in this article. And if you’re new to photography, then hopefully these facts have made you more passionate in your work.
So go out, take some photos, and share them with the world! But just keep in mind that a little help never hurts, which is why you should take a close look at Skylum’s excellent photo editor that you can try for free! It will not only make photography easier but will also teach you a lot about post-processing, something that’s crucial if you’re going to make a name for yourself in the world of digital photography.
Have a fantastic World Photography Day!