zoe collins

Intended audience:

Adults interested in

Website goal

To bring website visitors through a timeline that educates them on the history of photographs/photography in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

What do you want your website to accomplish?

I want my website to teach people about photography in a visual and simple way.

Working titles:

Darkroom, Panorama, The Archive, Development of Color



  • Camera Obscura
  • Heliography
  • Daguerreotype
  • A camera obscura was a dark chamber or room with a hole/lens in it, in which light came through and was projected onto an opposite wall.
    • It is unknown exactly when this was invented, but many people speculate the idea was first created all the way back in the 5th century BCE, where the first recorded use was put together by a Chinese philosopher Mo-tzu in 400 BCE. However, the proper camera obscura was created around the 11th century, when Iraqi scientist Ibn al-Haytham used a viewing screen, like a projector on a screen.
    • In the 17th century, a portable version was created, where one could look through the camera obscura and immediately see the reversed image inside. This technique was often used by artists, allowing them to sketch and paint from real life more accurately onto their canvases.
    • LOOK: upside-down, blurry, impermanent
  • Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was a French inventor who pioneered the technology of photography in the future centuries. For years, he developed and combined chemicals to create a long-lasting image created from a camera obscura.
    • To make a more permanent photo, AKA heliography, “Niépce dissolved light-sensitive bitumen in oil of lavender and applied a thin coating over a polished pewter plate. He inserted the plate into a camera obscura and positioned it near a window in his second-story workroom. After several hour to a few days of exposure to sunlight, the plate yielded an impression of the courtyard, outbuildings, and trees outside.”
    • This produced the earliest known photograph, because it was everlasting instead of fleeting. He captured the view outside his window, which can still be viewed to this day as “printed” on a metal plate.
    • Photography’s primary product was on metal, not on paper or fabric
    • LOOK: very rough and blurry, hard to discern exactly what is in the image, black and white
  • Similar to heliography, Daguerreotype was focused on shortening the exposure time of capturing images. This technique was produced in the mid-19th century
    • This photography worked by coating a copper plate with silver and exposing it with iodine vapor before exposing it to light, which would produce the image. The exposure time was only 15min for this technique.
    • Used for portraits and landscapes
    • LOOK: Black and white, pretty clear

Evolution of Photography

  • Calotype
  • Mirror Camera
  • Instant Exposure
  • Roll Film
  • 35mm
  • Polaroid
  • Digital
  • The beginnings of photography on paper. This invention helped revolutionize photography on paper as the heliograph technique did for photography on metal.
    • This technique was discovered by William Henry Fox Talbot, a British linguist. Gallic acid, used to increase the sensitivity of prepared paper for photography, was a highlight of his experiments. While testing things out, he discovered that it could be used to produce a latent image on the paper. 1840
      • Latent image: an invisible image produced by the exposure to light of a photosensitive material (such as photographic film). When the film is developed, the area that was exposed darkens and forms a visible image.
    • One minute was all you needed to take the negative and turn it into a developed photograph.
    • First “film” camera technique
    • LOOK: Black and white
  • While both daguerreotype and calotype utilized similar functions as a camera, this type of camera was a step toward commercial photography. While the previously mentioned cameras produced photos that faded quickly, this new method didn’t require a lens – instead, it used a mirror – and thus extending the lifetime of photos.
    • Created by Alexander Simon Wolcott in 1840, the mirror camera utilized a concave mirror instead of a lens. Wolcott used the mirror to reflect light on a light-sensitive plate to produce a positive image.
    • This technique allowed the sitting time for a portraiture to be reduced from 30mins to 5mins, and also increased the lifetime of the resulting pictures. Wolcott opened the world’s first portrait studio in 1840 in NYC.
  • In 1871, Richard Leach Maddox found a way to reduce the chemicals required for photography while also decreasing the time for development even further. He began to use gelatin emulsion, which is a layer in film or prints of light-sensitive salts. Gelatin had a dry plate, which didn’t require preparations for the consumer, meaning they could be purchased from the store and used immediately. By the time it was fully developed, the exposure time required was only 1/25 of a second.
  • The introduction of gelatin emulsion allowed for roll film cameras to be produced. In 1888, using celluloid film, George Eastman manufactured the Kodak camera. The camera included a roll of film that could produce 100 exposures.
    • After the photographer used up all of the film, they would send the entire box camera to the Kodak factory, where the film would be developed and sent back to the user. This allowed greater accessibility to consumers.
    • Kodak: “You press the button, we do the rest.”
  • In 1913, German inventor Oskar Barnack produced the first renditions of the 35mm camera. The film, typically 35x24mm, was rolled into a protective and removable cassette case. It originally only took about 36 exposures, but allowed the camera to be much slimmer and more portable.
    • Instead of sending the entire camera to be developed, you could send just the film. This technique was adopted by Kodak in 1934, thus producing the technology for the industry standard of photography almost a century.
  • In 1948, Edwin Land invented the instant camera and founded the Polaroid Corp. The first versions of Polaroids worked by connecting a film negative to a film positive using emulsion, and the user would then remove the negative after exposure to reveal their image. Later, the camera could achieve this itself.
    • These cameras dominated from the 1970s – 1990s, and began to show the appeal of the instant gratification that came with an instantly useable photo.
  • While the first digital camera prototype was made in 1975 by a Kodak engineer named Steven Sasson, it would be a while until it became a usable reality. The first creation was inconvenient and had a very poor resolution and an exposure time of 23 seconds.
    • The first mass-produced digital camera was created by Logitech in 1990. It utilized a charged-couple device (CCD) but recorded data onto an internal memory, allowing the user to connect the camera to a computer for viewing, printing, downloading, etc.

TO BE DETERMINED/ADDED: Evolution of colors in photography