PetaPixel

The History of Photography According to Google Books

Google’s new Books Ngram Viewer is a cool new site that allows you to search for words and view a graph of how the usage of that word has fluctuated over time. A quick search of the word “photography” in books published between 1835 and 2008 provides a pretty interesting look at the history of photography.

As you can see from the graph above, there are spikes in the usage of “photography” where major developments happen in the industry. For example, the 1930s and 1940s saw the introduction of the 35mm SLR camera and the use of 35mm film in mass market cameras, and we find a huge spike in the usage of “photography” during that time period.

Let’s put on our thinking caps — can you figure out the major events in the photo or camera industry that caused the other spikes?


 
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  • Adsf

    Yeah, I wouldn’t push this too far. There are plenty of examples of these results being locally dependent on things like which books are in the data set. Be content with a growing use of the word and don’t look for such detailed explanations.

  • Grannybuttons

    I suspect the 1930s rise is due to photojournalism and its appreciation, not amateur photography. The 1960s rise might be because being a photographer became more arty and socially acceptable as s professional career. Not enough significance in other rises. Note the decline during ww2 – thats bound to be due to the war in some way, perhaps because it was harder to get raw materials.

  • Grannybuttons

    I suspect the 1930s rise is due to photojournalism and its appreciation, not amateur photography. The 1960s rise might be because being a photographer became more arty and socially acceptable as s professional career. Not enough significance in other rises. Note the decline during ww2 – thats bound to be due to the war in some way, perhaps because it was harder to get raw materials.