Photography Through the Ages

When you look at old photographs and equipment from when photography first started, it is hard to believe the advancements that technology has made. In the first days of film and the big screen, the cameras were almost as large as a mainframe computer, and the photographer had to go through a bizarre ritual of hiding under a blanket and holding up a tripod which exploded to make the flash. Today the everyday person has a camera in their mobile phone and can take perfect digital photographs with high resolution.


Photography as we know it today began in Greek times, and can be translated as “drawing with light”. But the real beginnings of the industry really date to the 1800’s in the United States of America. A man named Hershel applied the science into “positives and negatives”, and the “negative” still applied to the photographic industry until very recently. Probably the most famous name associated with early photography was Eastman Kodak.


One of the first American pioneers of photography was George Eastman, and he formed the giant corporation Kodak. Developments were fairly slow, and the first colour pictures were not until 1861, up to this time all prints were black and white or monochrome. This development by James Maxwell was the most significant since the start of the industry, but colour photography was not really put into the public domain until the Lumiere brothers in France invented the colour plate in 1907.

The Digital Age

The decades that followed bought little radical change, although consistent improvements were made. The biggest step really was that photography was no longer looked at as a scientific industry, the world had moved on to adopt a more commercial aspect, and photography was adopted into the world of media and journalism.

In 1981, Sony bought out the first camera that could actually take photographs without film, and it was the dawn of a new digital age. It was not until another nine years later that the first digital camera hit the streets, it was the Kodak DCS 100. The DCS was expensive and too large for public acceptance.

Internet & Sharing

Since those first early digital cameras, further developments came fast and furious. And the innovations of the digital industry bought drastic improvements. Cameras had more memory, better lenses and a new concept, the concept of “swapping storage drives”. This changed digital photography forever, as it made the photographs one could take virtually limitless. This new enlarged memory could now add video to the same phones and mobile devices people already owned, so the average man in the street could become a cameraman and director.

With the advances in the “cyber world” keeping abreast of the developments in the photography industry, it is now possible to “post” your videos and images online and via social media, so the world can have access to your information within seconds. This is all a far cry from the days back in the 1800’s, but the way new innovations are influencing today’s photographic industry, who knows where we will be in decades to come.