Inventions of Photography
There was not a single invention.
The exact date is something that is hard to pin point.
The word invention itself demonstrates a singular moment.
Photography flourished through an optical phenomenon.
People credit the invention of photography to Aguere, but infact, Aguere’s invention was
something he worked on with another person, something he built upon centuries of
thought, and an invention that went on simultaneously with a different invention in mind.
There were two competing British inventions:
What is Photography? (ANALOG)
a lighttight box
lenses (or a pin hole)
light sensitive chemicals
5 century BC, philosopher Me Ti wrote about how light through a pinhole will create
Aristotle made two important observations on the effects of light. Recognized that
partially eclipsed sun made for a sharper image, discovered this through little holes in
little leaves in trees.
Smaller aperture sharper the image.
Small hole in a darkened room will create an image from the sun.
13 century british scholar roger bacon
Renaissance and western Europe, noted that use of small holes were used to focus light.
Optical effects of light and guiding light could create different effects within
Photography is made of the effects of light and chemical means of how to create them, it
was in the period before the 19 century that thinking about these effects came very much
to light. “The active pre history of photography its first invention occurred really in the
18 century.” A period that immediately preceided the industrial revolution. Europe was
changing to a more urban environment, a movement called the “enlightenment” material
progress, research and innovation. A period where we see the beginings of industrial
products. A realization that this tool would become a great one for a sense of thinking.
Growth of middle class and an audience for what would soon be photographic images.
Precursors From the History of Art
A lot of tools developed at this time that are a basis of thinking. Find a means to make an image, that seemed to be neutral and authoritative and made by
the rays of light themselves.
Early Precursors to Photography
Means for Mechanically Drawing:
Pantograph: developed in 17 century, simple device of wrap screen placed in
front of the artist, drawing a portrait also behind the graph screen with the same
ratio so that the artist can render the drawing exactly as it’s seen through the
graph. Deemed helpful for shortening and getting proportions. Leonardo Di Vinci
used this method. There was a lot of thinking of people wanting to render with
perfection of knowledge of geometry and devices to aid them.
Physionotrace: developed at the end of the 18 century. Adapted form the
pantograph but to make etches. What would happen is the artist would view the
sitter through th eye piece, and move the eye piece along the profile of the
subject. There was a stylus attached to the eye piece so it would trace the shape
that the eye directed movement of. Not very practical, but a means of wanting to
trace appearance that seemed like a pure optical device.
Silhouette: Subject would sit on the site of a paper, light source on one side so the
shadow would be cast onto the screen and the artist just traces the outline. This
device gave a sense that it was a true trace of the person, rather than being
rendered and modified by the artist.
Silhouettes and physionotraces were affordable to the public. Seen as mechanical devices,
and were drawing inffact on beliefs at the time that the shape of the head told you
something about the character, and having likeness about something of the subject would
show the audience similiarities and differences between people.
Camera Obscura (latin, dark room):
All analog cameras are essentially camera obscuras. A device that was invented in the 16
century in Europe, was a room sized device that just requires an airtight space with one
pin hole on the side that projects an image upside down.
This device is based on certain principles.
light tight box with aperture (and often lenses)
light rays enter opening (aperture) and throw an inverted image of object in front
of camera obscura onto the back of the box.
A mirror placed at a 45% angle reverses the image and reflects it onto a clear