Camera Day 2021: 8 mind-blowing facts about the camera, first-ever photograph you didn’t know about

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We look at a few mind-blowing facts about the camera, first-ever photograph taken on this year's Camera Day

Today, cameras are very sophisticated, enabling us to capture, save, and manipulate thousands of images as well as to shoot films. Every year, companies come out with smaller cameras with larger capabilities than their predecessors. Indeed, cameras have come a long way from the days of the camera obscura. We look at a few mind-blowing facts about the camera, first-ever photograph taken on this year’s Camera Day.

Here we go:

Camera Day
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s first photo View from the window at Le Gras | Source: Wikipedia

Who took the first-ever photograph?

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce- Centuries of advances in chemistry and optics, including the invention of the camera obscura, set the stage for the world’s first photograph. In 1826, French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, took that photograph, titled View from the Window at Le Gras, at his family’s country home. The world’s first photograph—or at least the oldest surviving photo—was taken by him. Captured using a technique known as heliography, the shot was taken from an upstairs window at Niépce’s estate in Burgundy.

Camera Day
The first smile in a photo | Source: Wikipedia

Who was the first person to smile in a photo?

Willy is looking at something amusing off to his right, and the photograph captured just the hint of a smile from him—the first ever recorded, according to experts at the National Library of Wales. Willy’s portrait was taken in 1853, when he was 18. It features a young man with close-cropped hair and dressed in fine clothing, including a collared shirt and jacket. He was captured on film because he was born into the Dillwyn family from Swansea in Wales, whose photography hobby was inspired by relative-by-marriage Henry Fox Talbot, who invented salt print and the Calotype. Two members of the family were particularly notable: Willy’s father, John Dillwyn Llewelyn, was a botanist who took the earliest-ever photographs of Wales.

What was the first type of camera invented?

The first-ever camera was a pinhole camera, dating back to the 4th or 5th century. The forerunner to the photographic camera was the camera obscura. Camera obscura (Latin for “dark room”) is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen (or for instance a wall) is projected through a small hole in that screen and forms an inverted image (left to right and upside down) on a surface opposite to the opening. The oldest known record of this principle is a description by Han Chinese philosopher Mozi (c. 470 to c. 391 BC). Mozi correctly asserted that the camera obscura image is inverted because light travels in straight lines from its source. In the 11th century, Arab physicist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) wrote very influential books about optics, including experiments with light through a small opening in a darkened room. The use of a lens in the opening of a wall or closed window shutter of a darkened room to project images used as a drawing aid has been traced back to circa 1550. Since the late 17th-century portable camera obscura devices in tents and boxes were used as a drawing aid. Before the invention of photographic processes, there was no way to preserve the images produced by these cameras apart from manually tracing them.

Who invented film photography?

The use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman, who started manufacturing paper film in 1885 before switching to celluloid in 1888–1889. His first camera, which he called the “Kodak”, was first offered for sale in 1888. George Eastman was an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and the pioneer of popular photography and motion picture film. George Eastman was born in 1854 in Waterville, New York, the same year that his father, George Washington Eastman, established Eastman’s Commercial College in Rochester.

Other interesting facts to look at:

– The first colour photograph was introduced in 1861 by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell
– The first colour photograph was taken by the mathematical physicist, James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell created the image of the tartan ribbon shown here by photographing it three times through red, blue, and yellow filters, then recombining the images into one colour composite in 1861.
– The first underwater color photograph was born with a shot of a hogfish​, photographed off the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico by Dr William Longley and National Geographic staff photographer Charles Martin in 1926.
– The largest camera collection is owned by Dilish Parekh, a photojournalist from Mumbai. He owns a total of 4,425 antique cameras.

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