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When was Photography invented?

Camera Oscura the 1st camera ever.

The term Camera Obscura comes from Latin, meaning ‘Dark room’. When a small hole is made in the box and light is allowed to pass through that, an inverted image of the same thing will be seen on the opposite side of the hole.  During the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci gave an impulse to the development of the camera obscura, using it to study in-depth how the vision works, how the Light reacts and the laws of geometric perspective: he related all that to the painting techniques.

Before, camera obscuras were always a room in a house. By the 17th century, however smaller, portable versions had appeared. Portable camera oscuras were widely used by artists as aids for sketching. For this purpose, the most popular form was the reflex box camera obscura in which the lens formed an upright image on a sheet of translucent paper after reflection by an inclined mirror.

The 1st image that was fixed, meaning that it did not fade quickly was 1st made in 1825/26 by Joseph Nicephore Niepce using a sliding wooden box camera made by Charles and Vincent Chevalier in Paris, France. After Niepce passed away in 1833 there were any controversies about the processing of the image. His partner Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot were in controversy about whose technique to fix the photograph was the 1st.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce

The 1st human image was said to be a ‘selfie’ (self Portrait) as we call it these days. The subject and the photographer both were the same that is Robert Cornelius in 1939. In one way this was the 1st Image of a human intentionally taken because just a year ahead of that Daguerre had made a photograph of a bustling Boulevard du Temple in Paris. The image taken was a long exposure that made everything that was moving literally vanished from the frame due to motion. It was only two people, a man having his boots shined and the shiner, who remained still long enough to be recorded in the photo.

In 1888 The Kodak started selling so-called “n°1 box camera”- the 1st easy-to-use camera. After this in 1889 the 1st commercially available transparent celluloid roll films were introduced to the world. After all this, Kodak started selling “Brownie”- inexpensive cardboard box camera around 1900.

Kodak Brownie


  • Coe, Brian, Cameras – From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures, Marshall Cavendish Editions, London, 1978, ISBN 0 85685 448 4
  • Gernsheim, Helmut (1986). A Concise History of Photography (3 ed.). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN 978-0-486-25128-8.
  • NATIONAL SCIENCE AND MEDIA MUSEUM UK : Intruduction to camera obscura

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