Posts Tagged ‘history’

1998 Review of Sony Mavica Shows How Far Digital Cameras Have Come

Back in 1998, PC World magazine published a review of the Sony Mavica MVC-FD71 as the digital camera industry was beginning to pick up steam. He’s what they wrote:

[...] the original model took about 8 seconds to save a photo to a disk, this version averaged a more tolerable 4 seconds. In addition, Sony has added some nifty new features. These include the ability to make copies of floppies using just the camera–very handy if you want to hand out extra disks on the spot. A new quarter-resolution (320 by 240) option also makes it faster to e-mail photographs. (The camera’s full resolution is 640 by 480.) A built-in menu on the MVC-FD71′s LCD screen permits you to easily take advantage of useful new options such as these.

My main complaint? The high price tag. List-priced at $799, the Mavica costs more than many high-quality 35mm cameras. And as with most digital cameras, this model fails to deliver image quality that is comparable to the quality produced by a 35mm.

The reviewer also commends the camera for weighing in at just 1.2 pounds.

Sony Mavica Camera Slims Down, Speeds Up [PCWorld via MetaFilter]


Image credit: Sony Mavica MVC-FD71_0433 by Bobolink

The First Hoax Photograph Ever Shot

The mid-1800s was a busy time for photographic firsts. In 1838, daguerreotype inventor Louis Daguerre captured the first ever photo of a human being. One year later, in 1839, photograph pioneer Robert Cornelius stepped in front of his camera and created the first self-portrait. 1840 held yet another interesting development: the first hoax photograph.
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A Mirror Self-Portrait Captured in 1917

Snapping mirror self-portraits may have gotten a huge boost from the introduction of digital photography and smartphoneography, but it is by no means a new activity limited to our era. The photograph above was created back in 1917 — nearly 100 years ago! It was snapped by an Australian flying ace named Thomas Baker when he was 20 years old.
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A Brief History of the Chemical Processes Used in Photography Over the Years

Photography isn’t even 200-years-old yet, but there have already been over 150 different chemical processes developed over its relatively short lifetime. In this interesting 5-minute video titled “A Brief History of Photography: Innovations in Chemistry,” photo conservation scientist Art Kaplan of the Getty Conservation Institute quickly introduces some of the groundbreaking processes that have made a significant impact on the history of photography — processes such as the daguerreotype, ambrotype and tintype.
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First Photograph Ever Snapped in Finland

Just in case this question ever comes up while you’re playing the world’s hardest game of photography trivia, what you see above is the first photograph ever snapped in Finland. Mats Söderlund of The Crop Factor writes,

This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd. The photograph is a daguerreotype [...] It was taken in Turku, which ironically also is Finland’s oldest city [...] The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken [...]

As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were a gallery of the first photographs shot in each country on Earth?

First Photograph Taken in Finland Turns 170 [The Crop Factor via Reddit]

Say ‘Prunes’, Not ‘Cheese’: The History of Smiling in Photographs

“Say cheese.” It’s an expression that has become so much a part of our culture that everyone understands it to simply mean, “Smile,” rather than a command to actually utter the word “cheese.” For many people, smiling and posing for casual snapshots go hand-in-hand, but why do people smile for pictures, and when did this practice begin? After all, if you browse portrait photos created in the early days of photography — or even half a century ago — you’ll find the subjects wearing stoic, humorless expressions on their faces.
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“How Unprofessional Can It Really Be?”: Eisenstaedt’s Self-Portraits with Icons

Best known for his iconic V-J Day in Times Square image, photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century’s most famous faces. LIFE writes that the photographer had an interesting habit: jumping into the frame for self-portraits with his subjects.
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How the US Govt Accidentally Created the Golden Age of American Photography

“Corn Along a River” Marion Post Wolcott, 1940. Library of Congress.

My overview of American government goes generally like this: (1) Something happens. (2) The government passes some laws in response to it, adds on a few pork projects, and raises taxes to pay for the laws and the pork. (3) The laws (or pork) cause an entirely new problem. (4) Repeat.

The usual outcome of this cycle is that every year we have more laws and higher taxes. But every so often, some accidental side effect occurs and something awesomely good happens. So it was during the alphabet-soup days of New Deal government during the Great Depression. The accidental side effect was the Golden Age of American Photography. How it happened is rather interesting.
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The Invention of the Pigeon Camera for Aerial Photography

We’ve featured a couple of projects involving cameras strapped to birds recently (see here and here), but photographing with birds is anything but a new idea. It was actually invented a little over a century ago, in 1907, by a German photography pioneer named Julius Neubronner.
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Photog Documented Being Stranded in the Antarctic Nearly 100 Years Ago

If you ever need some encouragement for sticking with photography when times get tough, you should read about the adventures of Frank Hurley. Born in Australia in 1885, he took up photography as a young man and eventually became skilled enough to be selected as the official photographer for multiple expeditions to Antarctica and for the Australian military in both world wars. Among his many photographic escapades, one stands out from among the rest: being stranded in the Antarctic for nearly two years.
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