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Photography Pioneers

by: Suzanne VanDeGrift

Modern day photography dates back to the early 1800's. The word photography is derived from the Greeks; photos meaning light and graphein meaning to draw. The word was first used in 1839 by scientist Sir John FW Herschel to describe a method of recording images. That was 12 years after the first photograph was captured by Frenchman Louis Jacque Mande Daguerre, a professional opera scene painter. This first process took eight hours and he then worked 12 more years to reduce the expose time to under 30 minutes and keep the image from disappearing. These first photographs were exposed on metal that had been sensitized to accept the image and were called Daguerreotypes after their French inventor. Then came the tintype, invented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith. This was a thin sheet of iron used as a base for light sensitive material to produce a photograph.

Along came an American from upstate New York, George Eastman, who was very fascinated by photography, but frustrated with what he considered cumbersome exposure methods. He developed a dry photographic plate, patented it in the United States and England and began his first photographic business in 1880. In 1884, he replaced the glass plates with paper rolls allowing multiple images to be taken much more quickly. Four years later, on September 4, 1888 he patented he "roll film camera". You could take your pictures, mail the camera to Kodak who would develop your 100 photos and send them back to you along with another roll of 100 exposures. Sound familiar? The big difference? You used to get your camera back, now you don't!

These pioneers would be amazed with the equipment available to us today. We have the digital camera, the SLR,35mm, the camcorder, automatic exposure and automatic focusing, zoom lens and video. We even take pictures with our cellphones, which we can then download onto our computers. We have the luxury of going just about anywhere to get that perfect shot. Indoors, outdoors, underwater, or on top of a mountain. We attach our camera to a tripod and set the self timer so we can be in that majestic mountain scene.

When the equipment was of a size to be transported from place to place, they certainly didn't have a camera case with a padded shoulder strap. We have a camera bag suited to fit every camera and the accessories. Backpacks for hiking up that trail and lens pouches.

We can take pictures as a hobby, while on vacation; supplement our income as a weekend photographer/writer for a local newspaper; or travel the world as a full-time photojournalist. Today, our photographic possibilities are limitless thanks, at least in part, to these photography trailblazers.

About The Author
Suzanne VanDeGrift of Web Submission Services, Inc., has developed this article for, manufacturer of feature packed and functional digital camera bags


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