Next time you take a selfie, stop and think about this: You are participating in an 800-year-old practice of using a camera (sort of). As we honor National Camera Day this week, let’s look at the history of one our favorite technologies. In 4th-century China, a camera obscura (Latin for “dark room”) — was invented. Camera obscura is the principle of projecting an image onto a wall through a tiny hole in a screen. A French inventor in 1816 created the first actual photograph, a picture of lines of light and dark of buildings. In 1833, Louise Daguerre used a sheet of copper plated with silver and treated with iodine vapor to permanently capture an image. He called his invention a daguerreotype. It became publicly available in 1839. Photography took another gigantic leap in 1888 when George Eastman presented his first camera, the “Kodak.” This groundbreaking camera was the first one that used celluloid film. Today, digital cameras in cell phones produce high resolution, instant pictures to share.

mahogany studio camera

1880 Studio camera, mahogany with bellows, brass lens, Ross of London, $270. Photo: Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

 

eastman kodak brownie camera and box


Brownie camera, Model 2A, Eastman Kodak Co., $180.

 

carl zeiss hasselblad camera

1973 Hasselblad 500 C/M camera,  Zeiss lens, lens hood, manual, $952.

 

hopalong cassidy camera and box

Hopalong Cassidy box camera, original box, $345.

 

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