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Photography Timeline

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Photography Timeline (Including some important historical events) We owe the name 'Photography' to Sir John Hershel, who first used the term in 1839, the year the photographic process became public. The word is derived from the Greek words for light and writing. Early Days It may seem strange but cameras existed long before photography. As far back as the 5th Century BC, an image of the outside scene was formed by sunlight through a small hole into a darkened room. This is known as a Camera Obscura which means 'Darkened Room'. 1500- 1800 The Camera Obscura was improved by utilising a simple lens at one end and a ground-glass screen at the other, upon which an image is projected. This is used as an aid to drawing and painting by artists including Vermeer, Caravaggio and Canaletto. 1666 Isaac Newton demonstrated that light is the source of colour. He used a prism to split sunlight into its constituent colours and another to recombine them to make white light. 1725 The German physicist Johann Heinrich Schulze discovers the basic principle of photography by noting that silver salts darken when exposed to light. 1807- 1808 Beethoven composes his Fifth Symphony. 1802 Humphrey Davy reports to colleagues at a scientific society on the results of Thomas Wedgewood's experiments with silhouettes of leaves and other objects placed on paper sensitized with silver nitrate. ...read more.


1880 On 4 March, the first newspaper photograph is reproduced in the New York Daily Graphic. The introduction of the photographic halftone plate has made photographic reproduction in books and newspapers both easier and cheaper. 1886 Gottlieb Daimler builds and tests the first four-wheeled vehicle powered by a gas-cylinder engine. 1887- 1889 The 300m high Eiffel Tower is constructed to form the entrance arch of the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris. 1888 George Eastman brought out the first box camera 'Kodak No.1'. Containing the new recently invented film-roll. His famous slogan is 'You press the button, we do the rest.' 1890s 'Snapshot' photography, as it is called, makes photography on of the fastest-growing pastimes for amateurs and hobbyists. The decade sees the first photographically illustrated magazines and the birth of 'photojournalism' - the result of smaller faster cameras and halftone printing. 1899- 1901 The Boxer Rebellion: troops from eight nations under British command crush fierce Chinese protests at European encroachment after the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95. 1893 Thomas Edison invents 35mm film. 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen invents the x-ray photograph. 1903 On 17th Dec, in Kitty Hawk, the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine. 1902 Alfred Steiglitz, Alvin Langdon Coburn and Edward Steichen founded the 'Photo Seccession' and the influential journal 'Camera Work'. ...read more.


1980 Former Beatle John Lennon is shot dead. 1980s The precepts of modernism are criticized by artists in the postmodernist movement. Many artists are making photographic works, although there is a considered distinction between photographers-who make photographs- and artists-who make 'pieces'. 1989 On 9th November, the border between East and West Berlin is opened. The Berlin wall is dismantled soon after, and in 1990 Germany is reunited after 45years. 1984 Canon demonstrated the first digital still camera. 1988 The introduction of digital photography; the first electronic scanners and digital cameras are launched. 1990s The computer begins to take over photography, especially at the printing stage. Many artists and photographers still use traditional cameras and film but scan the negatives into a computer and produce inkjet prints rather than traditional chemical based prints. 1998 The first consumer mega pixel digital cameras were introduced. 2000s Digital photography reaches critical mass in the market place. Many companies announce the cessation or scaling down of film and film- camera production. 2002 The first consumer camera phones were introduced. 2003 Cruel and Tender, is the first major photographic exhibition to be held at Tate Modern in London. 1990- 1991 2001 The Gulf War: Iraqinvades Kuwait. A coalition force led bythe US defeats Iraqi forces in Operation Desert Storm. On 11 September, terrorists under the direction of al-Qaeda make a co-ordinated attack on the United States. The Bush administration declares a 'war on terror'. ...read more.

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