Photography has actually been around for centuries. Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) was already familiar with the principle of the camera obscura (Latin for dark room), however, it was 1826 before the world’s first officially recognized photograph was produced by Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. He coated a polished pewter plate with bitumen of Judea, exposed it to light for eight hours and then treated it with a solution of oil of lavender and turpentine.
Several talented individuals followed his example, experimenting with various techniques in an attempt to capture a lasting image. The second half of the 19th century saw the development of various relatively small cameras, until in 1888, George Eastman’s Kodak took America and Europe by storm. But this was not merely a camera, it was also a photo-finishing service for the preloaded roll of film. Fill the film, send the camera to Kodak and it was returned with processed photographs and the camera preloaded with a new film. Photography was now available to the masses.
Initially all photographs were black and white (albeit often with varying colour casts) and it was not until 1936 that Kodak and Agfa produced a marketable colour film for transparencies, followed by print film in the 1950s. All was well in the photography world as film became ever faster and more reliable in providing accurate colour.
And then came digital. Initially, arguments raged over whether or not this could even be called photography! All those conventional photography skills honed over the years were about to be overtaken by quick snappers with computer talents who could manipulate images at the press of a key. Several years later however, the development of digital has been embraced by all but the diehard film fanatic. It has become clear that the art of photography still needs a keen eye and an artistic flair.