Thesis: Nature's Second Eye Photography and the Camera

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NATURE'S SECOND EYE

Photography and the Camera through the Years

Photography has gone a long way in recording and visualizing natural phenomena, with the camera as the device. Both have evolved through the centuries.

The precursor was the camera obscura in the 1700s. The first photograph was taken in 1835, the first patent for photography awarded in 1840. The first photo advertisement was produced in 1843. Two processes in the early 1800s were by Dagerreo and Fox Talbot. The term "photography" was coined. George Eastman set up his company, which produced and sold Kodak cameras. The cine-camera or color photography was invented. James Clerk Maxwell introduced color photography. Kodachrome slide film was invented and color prints were developed. The instant photography system and compact cameras came forth. Then the first digital camera was created. Other innovations were the first 35mm camera, the Twin Lens camera, and the instant-picture camera. The Polaroid Model 45 was the world's first instant picture camera. Then, the first true digital camera, the Fuji DS-1P, entered the scene.

Photography was invented in the 5th century BC with the camera obscura. History lists the first and oldest photograph, the first photograph of a person, the first underwater photograph, the first color photograph, the first self-portrait, and the first motion picture as innovations since then. In the last century, these are the first aerial photograph, the first and distinct underwater color photograph, the first space photograph, and the first photograph of the earth fully lighted.

A potential at present is the 5-megapizel image sensor for digital cameras. This followed the CMOS imaging innovation.

More and more practitioners are adapting imaginative processes in creating images, applying the same law of optics as the old ones. Although not new, pinhole photography is now the current trend. Experiments with pinhole and home-made cameras suggest that future innovations will derive from them.

History and Innovations of Photography and the Camera

Photography is defined as "the process or art of producing images of objects in sensitized surfaces through the chemical action of light or other forms of energy (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006)." The camera is a boxlike device, which produces the images (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2008).

Precursor Camera Obscura

The simultaneous histories of photography and the camera started with the precursor camera obscura in the 1700s (Holland, 2004; D'Silva, 2007). This precursor was not a handheld camera but only a dark chamber or an optical device for drawing. A lens or a pinhole projected the image of the place on a viewing surface. The first units of camera obscuras were actually big enough to accommodate one or more persons. The handheld camera units known and used today evolved only gradually. The first acknowledged and practical photograph was invented in 1835 by Louis Jacques Daguerre, later named after him. The first patent for photography was given to Alexander Wolcott in 1840. The first photo advertisement was produced in Philadelphia in 1843. The Panaromic camera patent was given in Sutton (D'Silva).

Photography Processes, the Term "Photography"

Two photography processes were developed in the early 1800s (Holland, 2004). The first, called the Dageurreo-type method, used silver iodide on a copper plate, a positive process. The second was introduced by Fox Talbot and used silver salts on paper, a negative process. The resulting negative was waxed to obtain a positive. The astronomer and pioneer Sir William Herschel came out with the term "photography" with this development (Holland).

Kodak Cameras

The year 1851, the collodion era, used cellulose nitrates in alcohol and ether, and the "dry-plate" method. This method used a dried emulsion of gelatin with silver bromide (Holland, 2004; D'Silva, 2007). In 1879, George Eastman of Rochester, New York created, worked on and introduced a roller machine to print out materials for photographers. He established the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, which sold small black box camera units. These units could make 100 exposures or photos. He called the units Kodak cameras. The roll of film used by the units was to be returned for developing and printing. Celluloid films later became the basis for "snap shots (Holland)."

Cine-Camera/Color Photography, Slide Film, Instant Photos, Compact Cameras and the First Digital Camera

This was introduced to take moving photographs while John Logie Baird invented mechanical television in the 1920s and 1930s (Holland, 2004). James Clerk Maxwell introduced color photography in 1866. This used the primary colors red, green and blue. Kodachrome slide film was produced in 1935. Color prints appeared in 1940. These were followed by the instant photography system in 1963 and the compact cameras in 1990. And in 1970, the Bell Telephone Company invented the first digital camera (Holland).

Thomas Edison and William Dickson invented the crude film gauge for still photography in 1892 (D'Silva, 2007). The first 35mm camera, the Lecia 1, was in the market in 1925. Twin Lens cameras or TLRs, were also introduced in the 1900s but were too bulky for common use. The instant-picture cameras replaced them in 1948. The world's first instant picture camera was the Polaroid Model 45. It was also known as the Land Camera, named after its inventor, Edwin Land. It could process positive prints in a minute. And the first acknowledged true digital camera was the Fuji DS-1P with a 16 MB internal memory and introduced in 1988. The first widely available digital camera, the Kodak DCS-100, was released in 1991 (D'Silva).

The World's Firsts in Photography

The evolution of photography dates back centuries ago and outside the United States (Stack 2007). The following is the timeline:

5 thcentury BC - camera obscura

1826 - the first and older photograph taken by French inventor and photography pioneer Joseph Niepce

1838 - the first photograph of a person was taken by Louis Daguerre of another person. It was called "Boulevard du Temple." It had a 10-minute exposure

1856 - the first underwater photograph taken by William Thompson

1861 - the first color photograph by James Clerk Maxwell

1875 - the first self-portrait by Matthew B. Brady

1946 - the first 35m motion picture photographs taken at an altitude of 65 miles from the earth on board a V-s missile (Stack).

Innovations in the Last Century

The first aerial photographs were drawn from a camera with a timer and a pigeon in 1903 by Julius Neubronner (Stack, 2007). The first clear and credible underwater color photograph was tkat of a hogfish taken by Dr. William Longley Charles Martin in 1926 in the Gulf of Mexico. The first space photo was taken on October 24, 1946 through a 35mm motion picture camera as earlier mentioned. The first photo of the earth fully lighted, called the Blue Marble, was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972 (Stack).

Potentials/Projections of Digital Photography

Micron Technology, the leader in imaging solutions, introduced the revolutionary 5-megapixel high-definition, or HI, image sensor for digital cameras (Business Wire, 2006). This sensor can capture images at 60 frames per second in a 720 progressive format and 30 frames per second in a 1080 progressive format. Its amazing 2.2 micron pixel technology works well with long-range zoom lenses. It also has a pixel area for image stabilization to reduce shakiness and blurred effects. It is a follow-up to the company's successful CMOS imaging innovations. The 5 mega innovation not only increases the megapixels but also the functions, such as high definition and high speed (Business Wire).

Micron's products have captured images at speeds as high as 5000 frames per second (Business Wire, 2006). These products continuously allow digital still and video cameras to venture into new frontiers. The company also began creating reference designs for 8- megapixel image sensors. This has been its direction, particularly with the recent purchase of the Lexar equipment (Business Wire).

Alternative Processes and Techniques

More and more fine art photographers have embarked on new and imaginative schemes of image creations (Meyers, 2004). They have used pinhole cameras to shoot unusual or mysterious events. They utilize x-rays to cut through objects and re-use the old technique of photograms. New York-based artist Adam Fuss, early 19th-century photographers William Henry Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins used photograms. Fuss' photograms captured water droplets, flying birds, moving light and snakes on light-sensitive paper, strewn with talcum powder. Other artists have followed suit and exchanged the camera for other methods. One from Monterey, California specializes in pinhole photography and photograms. Another prefers crude photography, hand-made cameras and hand-made images and makes pinhole photographs as ambro-types on glass and Polaroid film. Another photographer creates "lumen prints" photograms by placing specimens on old photo paper and exposing them to the sun. An image results partly from the plant juices. Still another photographer folds photographic paper kept in the dark until the time of exposure. These practitioners and others like them have endeavored to express their art in a way other than merely snapping a photo. Owner of her own gallery, Susan Spiritus, observed that artists try to create images through another unique and different… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Nature's Second Eye Photography and the Camera.  (2008, November 18).  Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/nature-second-eye-photography-camera/801233

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"Nature's Second Eye Photography and the Camera."  Essaytown.com.  November 18, 2008.  Accessed June 26, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/nature-second-eye-photography-camera/801233.