The first surviving mention of the principles behind the camera obscura belong to a Chinese philosopher Mo Zi who lived from 470-390 BCE.
American Revolutionary War
Apr 19, 1775 - Sep 3, 1783
The Convention of 1800 or the Treaty of Mortefontaine
Treaty between the United States of America and France ended the 1798–1800 Quasi-War,
Wedgewood and Davy's "Sunprints"
Wedgewood and Davy presented “An Account of Method of Copying Paintings upon Glass, and making Profiles by the Agency upon Nitrate of Silver” to the Royal Academy of Britain. Though they were able to produce images in Silver Nitrate, they were unable to resolve the issue of permanency. Their images continued to develop after the intended exposure time, and thus faded away.
Treaty of Ghent
Ended the War of 1812 (treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain)
Earliest Surviving Photograph
The earliest surviving photograph called "View from the Study Window at Maison du Gras" was created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and was made around 1826. It is a "direct positive" meaning that the original image created was positive, rather than a negative that later created a positive, and it depicted the view from a window. Though it mostly solved the issue of permanency experienced by previous inventors, it had an exposure time of 8 hours - making it impractical for common use.
Louis-Jacques Mondé Daguerre created the Daguerreotype which was presented to the world in 1838. It created a direct positive image, so it could not be used to create multiple prints from a single negative, but it was very crisp and accurate in its depiction of the world. This made it the preferable option at the time for scientific and other documentary-focused purposes.
Daguerre's 'Boulevard du Temple" taken in 1838 is considered the first known photo of a human, as a shoe-shiner and his customer stood in the same spot long enough to be captured, despite the lengthy exposure time.
Henry Fox Talbot created the Calotype photographic process. The Calotype offered the advantage of creating a negative that could then be used to create multiple positive prints. The Calotype created a fuzzier image than the Daguerreotype, so it was not preferred for documentation, but its fuzzier look was considered aesthetically pleasing, and its ability to create multiple copies was preferable when "mass" production was desired.
The first known image made by Henry Fox Talbot was created in 1835, 4 years before he announced his process. It was titled "Latticed Window"
Hippolyte Bayard's "Portrait of a Drowned Man"
Hippolyte Bayard supposedly created the process of photography prior to Daguerre or Talbot; however he was not recognized for this achievement. The "Portrait of a Drowned Man" was created as a self-portrait to protest this injustice, and it also served as a lesson to viewers on how photography could be manipulated just as easily as a painting, when it was previously considered an infallible portrayal of the world.
Anna Atkins's Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions
The cyanotype process created a one-of-a-kind image by placing an object on top of light-sensitive paper and allowing the paper to develop around the object. Scientific Illustrator – Anna Atkins – used the cyanotype process to create her scientific illustrations.
Though Sir John Herschell, Atkin's book using the process is widely considered to be the first photographic book.
The Pencil of Nature
Henry Fox Talbot portrayed his interest in photography as an art form when he published his book "The Pencil of Nature." He included such images as "The Open Door" and wrote “The chief object of the present work is to place on record some of the early beginnings of a new art, before the period, which we trust is approaching, of its being brought to maturity by the aid of British talent.”
Naturalist Louis Agassiz's Ethnology Photographs
Louis Agassiz photographed slaves in a scientific manner - front, side and back views – and used these photos in an attempt to scientifically justify racial inequality. This photo titled "Jack Born on the Coast of Guinea" illustrates this happening - one of the notably darker sides of the development of photography.
Wet Collodion Photographic Process
Invented in 1851, the wet collodion photographic process produced a glass negative and a beautifully detailed print. Preferred for the quality of the prints and the ease with which they could be reproduced, the new method thrived from the 1850s until about 1880. One clear issue that it posed though was that the development process had to be completed before the chemicals dried. This meant that those practicing outdoor photography had to bring a portable darkroom along with them.
1853 - 1856
The first conflict to produce a large number of photographic images. During this war, because of the inability to take action shots yet, there were many portraits of soldiers, images of the camps, and shots of the aftermath (but not including the dead) taken during this war.
Roger Fenton: War Photographer
In 1855, Roger Fenton created the photograph "The Valley of the Shadow of the Valley of Death." This photograph was one of the most popular of the Crimean War. Due to long exposure times, action shots of the war were still not realistic, so this shot was taken after the battle - and the cannon balls were adjusted in the shot to artistically make the scene appear more dramatic.
Nadar's Aerial Photographs
though they no longer exist, the first aerial photographers were created by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, also known as "Nadar", in 1858 over Paris.
Battle of Melegnano
June 8th, 1859
Three years after the Crimean War, the Italian Battle of Melegnano occurred. Unlike the Crimean War, photographs of the Battle of Melegnano included the dead. This was very shocking to viewers at the time as nothing like this had been produced before.
Civil War Photographs
April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865
Mathew Brady is the best known Civil War
photographer. He took famous pictures such as portraits of Abraham Lincoln, as well as gory pictures of the aftermath of war. He brought the war to the "doorsteps" of the people, gaining revulsion and fame from the people.
American Civil War
April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865
Slavery Abolished in America
Invention of the Silver Gelatin Process
From the time of its invention to the day of digital photography, the silver gelatin process was the dominant photographic process. It was invented in 1873 and became commercially available in 1885
Alexander Graham Bell Patents His Telephone
Edison's Light Bulb is Patented
First Car is Patented
Eastman Kodak Company Founded
With the company slogan "you press the button, we do the rest," the Kodak company sought to commercialize photography and make it accessible to the hands of the everyday consumer.
The creation of a flexible film base by Kodak's founder George Eastman was a large part of allowing film to be commercially used.