The History of Photography A Story by Nick Vaughn, Nick Nojiri, and Hayden Scott

The Events that Shaped Photography to what it is Today

The World's First Photograph

View from the Window at Gras, 1826 or 1827- Joseph Nicephore Niépce

This is the earliest photograph ever, made by photographer Louis Daguerre. This is a picture of a view of a window in France. It isn't too exciting of a picture, as it is just a not very well taken, blurry image of a wall and some sort of landscape, but nonetheless, still one of the greatest milestones for the shaping of photography.

Daguerreotype camera built by La Maison Susse Frères in 1839, with a lens by Charles Chevalier

War Photography

‘Shadow of the Valley of Death. Dirt road in ravine scattered with cannonballs, Crimea.'

In 1855, Roger Fenton was dispatched by the English Army, due to his rising fame in photography, to go to Crimea and document the war. He couldn't take photos of any moving objects due to the lack of technology at the time, but he was able to focus on landscapes and posed portraits. He chose not to take pictures of injured or dead soldiers.

Scene during the Crimean War, 1850s.

The Invention of the First Kodak Camera

The Kodak camera, 1888.

This invention allowed for the general public to use cameras because it allowed for the photographer to not carry a whole darkroom on them. You could take 100 pre-loaded photos, and it was $25 ($2 for more reloading).

First Advertisement for the Kodak Camera

The Use of 35mm Film

Hewit-Beaufort Camera- 1921

German engineer Oskar Barnack decided to put it to the test because he was discouraged by the weight of most cameras. He made a prototype for the camera that would be used in 1913, and in 1925, a company called Leica started marketing the first ever for commercial use.

Nikon F2 film camera made in 1971.

The Introduction to Digital Photography

The first digital camera ever, developed by Steve Sasson in 1975.

Steve Sasson, an engineer at Kodak, introduced the world's first digital camera in 1975. It was blue, captured a black and white picture had a low resolution, and weighed a whopping 8 pounds. It took 23 seconds to record the image onto its storage, and another 23 seconds to scan the image and display it on a television screen.

Steve Sasson pictured here with the classic 1975 Kodak model.

The Demise of Film in Photography

An old, outdated film camera, sitting next to a new, nice DSLR camera.

Kodak released the first commercially available digital SLR in 1991, known as the Kodak DCS-100. It sold for over $13,000, and only sold 987 units, so it wasn't much of a commercial success. But, nonetheless, this practically marked the end for film cameras, and DSLR cameras are now the main choice of most photographers.

Canon EOS 5D 50.6 MP Digital SLR Camera - 2013

Significant Photographers who Paved the Way for Photography

Ansel Adams

View of Valley from Mountain, "Canyon de Chelly" National Monument, Arizona, 1933 - 1942
Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, 1940

Ansel Adams was an American photographer, known mostly for his photos of the American West landscape, and captured these pictures in black & white. He fell in love with photography, and was also an environmentalist. He has one of the most recognizable names in photography, is regarded as one of the best photographers ever, and he was awarded the Conservation Service Award by the Department of the Interior in 1968, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980, the Sierra Club John Muir Award in 1963, and was presented with the Hasselblad Award in 1981.

Grand Teton National Park, Snake River Overlook

Jay Maisel

© Jay Maisel

Jay Maisel is an American photographer, who is notably known for his work with simplicity, beauty, and vibrant color. His awards include the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Media Photographers, and the Infinity Award of the International Center of Photography.

© Jay Maisel

Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother - 1936

Dorothea Lange was an American photojournalist and photo documentarian who worked mainly in the 1930s and 1940s. Lange's photographs civilized the troubles of the Great Depression and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Children at the Weill public school in San Francisco pledge allegiance to the American flag - 1942

Jacob Riis

How the Other Half Lives- Jacob Riis (1888)

Jacob Riis was a pivotal muckraker and exposed the disgusting lifestyle that was in the cities of the era of industrialization.

Annie Leibovitz

George Clooney by Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous photographers of her time and of today. Her pictures are mainly focused on celebrities and is the first choice of photographers that you want to be taking photos of you. She uses great techniques, and even photographed John Lennon on the day he was assassinated. She has won the Honorary Clio Award and Glamour Award for The Visionary. She also has a documentary about her called Life Through a Lens.

Leonardo DiCaprio- Annie Leibovitz

Photography Impacts the World

The Syrian Gas Attacks of April 4th, 2017

Victims of the Syrian gas attacks that happened on April 4, 2017.

"On Tuesday (April 4th, 2017), Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent. Assad choked out the lives of innocent men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of god should ever suffer such horror. Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched."

This quote comes from President Donald J. Trump, who had seen the images of the Syrian gas attacks, and had obviously, like the rest of us, been disgusted and horrified with the gassings.

The Vietnam War Protests- 1960s

People coming together to protest against the war, and to show solidarity.

The war in America was unpopular among the people for several reasons. Many people were afraid to stand up for what they believed in at the time, and photography helped convey strong messages to the people. Combining together with the anti-communist hysteria of the Red Scare, these events impacted not only photography, but the world itself as well.

The Images of the Death of Neda Agha-Soltan

Protests and images that were used during the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests

Neda Agha-Soltan was a student at Islamic Āzād University, and was sitting in her car with her music teacher in the 2009 post-election protests. As she got out of her car, she was fatally shot in the chest, and almost overnight became a symbol for the chaos and protests in Iran. The pictures are snapshots and still frames from the video that was shot.

Works Cited

Neil Armstrong


Roger Fenton (English, 1819 - 1869)

Interior of the Redan, Sevastopol, 1855.


Anesl Adams

Jay Maisel

Dorothea Lange

Jacob Riis

Annie Leibovitz


The Vietnam War Protests- 1960s

The Images of the Death of Neda Agha-Soltan

Created By
Nick Vaughn

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