The History of Photography and Videography

Today, photographers and videographers have it easy – digital capabilities make it possible to review and alter photos and films instantly; and transporting equipment is a breeze with handheld devices. But remember the days when clear photos required still scenes and people had to stand motionless for up to 20 minutes? Or when video cameras weighed twice as much as the person carrying it?

Let’s review a few of the more notable times in Photography and Videography history to find out how we got where we are…

1826 – The first known fixed, permanent photography was taken by Nicéphore Niépce. This landscape photograph required an eight hour exposure!
1835 – William Fox Talbot creates his own photography process. A few years later he invents the positive/negative process used in modern photography.
1854 – The first greeting card was introduced! Known then as the carte de visite (French for “visiting card”), eight individually exposed images were reproduced on a single negative then cut apart and glued to calling card-sized mounts.

early camera
early camera

1861 – The first-ever color photograph is shown by James Clerk Maxwell.
1888 – Kodak introduces the first easy-to-use camera – the n1 box camera.
1891 – Thomas Edison invents and patents the first motion picture device. The kinetoscope  (an early motion picture exhibition device) led way to the Kinetograph – the first motion picture camera. Movies were photographed via rapid stop-and-go film movements resulting in the appearance of fluid movement.
1901 – 120mm film is introduced by Kodak.
1914 – The first color dramatic feature film – The World, the Flesh and the Devil, is released.
1923 – Kodak introduced the first 16mm film as an inexpensive alternative to 35mm.
1926 – The first Motion Picture Duplicating film is invented to duplicate negatives. Previously, duplicates were only available if a second camera was also used.
1932 – Disney creates the first full-color movie cartoon, Flowers and Trees, in Technicolor.


8mm movie camera
8mm movie camera

1932 – For the first time, amateur 8mm movie film, cameras and projectors are available.
1934 – 135mm film is introduced specifically for still photography. The 135mm film cartridge also increased the ease of 35mm film and grew in popularity to surpass 120 film in the 1960s.
1948 – The first Polaroid instant image camera in unveiled by Edwin H. Land.
1952 – Dreams of 3-D film become reality…and the craze begins.
1957 – The first digital image on a computer is produced by Russell Kirsch.

SLR camera
SLR camera

1959 – Nikon introduces its first single-lens reflex camera (SLR), the Nikon F, to become the most advanced camera of its day.
1960 – EG&G develops an underwater camera that functions at extreme depths for the U.S. Navy.
1965 – Super 8 film is introduced by Kodak as an improvement of the “Regular” 8mm film format. Super 8 film allows the exposed area of the photo to be larger.
1968 – For the first time, a photograph of the Earth is taken from the moon.
1978 – The first point-and-shoot, autofocus camera is developed by Konica.
1980 – Sony introduces the first consumer camcorder.

digital camera
digital camera

1984 – Canon releases the first digital camera – the first ever electronic still camera.
1985 – The first digital imaging processor is introduced by Pixar, innovatively using computer algorithms to perform image processing on digital images.
1990 – Kodak introduces the first Photo CD. The first of its kind, it allowed digital images to be stored easily.
2008 – Polaroid announces the discontinuance of instant film products, leading to surge in digital imaging technology.