The history of photography timeline and milestone

History of Photography

The history of photography timeline

Photography has come a long way since its inception over 180 years ago. What started out as a simple printing process has become one of the most popular forms of art and communication in the world. Here is a brief history of photography and some of its major milestones.


Photography is defined as the process of creating images using a camera. The first known photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

Since then, photography has become one of the most popular forms of art. Major milestones in the history of photography include the development of the daguerreotype in 1839 and the introduction of color photography in 1861.

The Daguerreotype The term “photography” was first used in 1839, after Louis J. M. Daguerre, a French scientist, developed the daguerreotype process.

The history of photography timeline
Image by The Spruce Craft

Pre-history Camera Obscura: Photography’s Beginnings

The word “photography” comes from the Greek words for light and writing. The first permanent photograph was made in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

This photograph, called View from the Window at Le Gras, was taken from an upstairs window of a country house. Niépce coated a sheet of pewter with a light-sensitive chemical and placed it in the camera obscure.

The camera obscura is a box with a hole in one side. Light passes through the hole and projects an image onto the opposite surface.

Niépce placed his pewter sheet in the camera obscura and left it there for eight hours. When he developed the pewter sheet, he found that the light had darkened some parts of it. That is the beginning of the history of photography.

First photo in the world
Image by Eye Em

19th century: The invention of the daguerreotype

The daguerreotype was invented in the early 19th century by French artist and chemist Louis Daguerre. It was the first photographic process to produce a permanent image and quickly became popular around the world.

The daguerreotype was replaced by other, more advanced photographic processes in the late 19th century, but it remains an important part of the history of photography.

The first color photographs were taken in 1861 by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. He used three photographic plates, each one with a different-colored sensitive coating. The three images could then be superimposed to produce a full-color image.

Color photography was very difficult to achieve until the mid-20th century when color film and digital cameras became available. The earliest color photographs were taken in 1861 by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. He used three photographic plates, each one with a different-colored sensitive coating.

Photography has come a long way since its inception in the early 1800s. What started as a simple process of capturing images on light-sensitive paper has evolved into a complex and nuanced art form.

20th century: Modernist photography

Modernist history of photography, which emerged in the early 20th century, was a major milestone in the history of the medium.

Modernist photographers sought to break away from the traditional rules of composition and subject matter that had defined photography up to that point. They were interested in exploring new ways of seeing and representing the world around them. This included experimenting with different techniques, such as abstraction and surrealism.

Some of the most famous modernist photographers include Man Ray, Andre Kertesz, and Edward Weston. Their work challenged conventional ideas about what a photograph could be, and helped to shape the course of photography in the 20th century and beyond.

Origins of Modernism

Modernist photography can be traced to the beginning of the 20th century when photography was just beginning to come into its own as a medium. At that time, there were no established rules for how photographs should look or what they could depict.

As the century progressed, photography evolved from a simple recording of events to an art form in its own right. This shift was catalyzed by the work of influential photographers who took up unconventional approaches to their art.

In the early 20th century, there was no set system of aesthetic values that governed photography. Photographers had been taking pictures for more than half a century, but they did not have to abide by any rules or guidelines.

The invention of the film

The film was invented in the early 20th century by George Eastman, who founded Eastman Kodak Com. He developed a flexible roll film, which made it possible to mass-produce photography. The first public demonstration of his invention was held in 1888.

In 1892, Eastman introduced the first Kodak camera, called the Kodak Box Brownie, which was designed for amateur photographers and cost $25. The camera came with a roll of 100 exposure film and did not need to be reloaded until the roll was finished.

First kodak camera
Image by Quora
First kodak camera
Image by Photo Pedagogy

In the late 19th century, photography was revolutionized with the invention of film. This new technology allowed for the capture of moving images, which could be played back in a machine called a projector.

The first films were short, simple documentaries or newsreels. But soon filmmakers began to experiment with different genres, such as comedy and drama.

By the early 20th century, film had become a popular form of entertainment. Today, films are made all over the world and are enjoyed by people of all ages.

Contemporary photography: Digital age

Photography is an art form that has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the digital age that it really began to flourish. In the past, photography was a time-consuming and expensive process that required specialized equipment and training. But now, anyone with a smartphone can take a high-quality photo.

This democratization of photography has led to a boom in the number of people taking and sharing photos. On social media platforms like Instagram, people are constantly posting new images for others to enjoy. And professional photographers are using these same platforms to showcase their work to a wider audience.

The digital age has also made editing and manipulating photos easier than ever before. With just a few clicks, you can change the color, contrast, or style of an image.

The image below shows the history of photography timeline of the camera. A few centuries of effort into the evolution of the camera, merely to capture high-quality photographs.

The history of photography timeline camera
Image by Adam Franklin

First Digital Camera

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that digital technology started to take over the field of photography. Prior to that, photographers used film cameras to capture images. The history of photography was in the digital era.

The first digital camera was developed in 1975 by Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak. The device weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and could capture black-and-white images with a resolution of 0.01 megapixels (10,000 pixels).

Kodak released the first digital camera, which used a CCD image sensor. This was a major milestone in the history of photography, as it marked the beginning of the digital age.

The images were stored on a cassette tape and took 23 seconds to record. Sasson’s invention was not immediately commercially viable, as the cost of memory devices and other components was too high for consumers.

It wasn’t until 1987 that the first digital SLR camera was released. The Kodak DCS-100 was a professional-grade camera that cost a whopping $20,000. It wasn’t until 1991 that an affordable consumer-grade digital SLR camera was released, with the Canon EOS-1 hitting store shelves at just $6000.

Digital SLR cameras quickly became popular among amateur and professional photographers alike, thanks to their convenience and ease of use.

In the early 1990s, digital cameras became more affordable and began to gain popularity with amateur and professional photographers alike.

The DSLR camera was developed by Nikon in response to the popularity of the Leica M3, which was the first 35mm rangefinder camera. The Nikon F featured a pentaprism viewfinder, which allowed for accurate framing and composition of shots.

It also had an interchangeable lens mount, which gave users the ability to swap out lenses for different focal lengths and purposes. The Nikon F was an instant success, and quickly became the standard by which all other DSLRs were judged.

First Phone Camera

First camera phone
Image by Lemmy Morgan
First camera phone
Image by Digital Trends

The first phone camera was created in 1997 by Philippe Kahn. He is a French-American entrepreneur who is the co-founder of Borland International and Starfish Software. The first phone camera was created as a way to send images via text message. It was later adapted for use on mobile phones. The first phone camera was not commercially available until 2000.

Kahn’s invention of the first phone camera has made it possible for billions of people to take and share pictures instantly. It has also changed the way we communicate and capture memories. The ability to take and share photos has led to the rise of social media and has made photography more accessible than ever before.

First Photoshop

History of Photography
Image by Creative Bloq

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Inc. for macOS and Windows. Photoshop was created in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll. It contributes an important milestone in the history of photography timeline.

Since then, it has become the de facto industry standard in raster graphics editing, to the point that it has also become an adjective in its own right (for example, “photoshopped image”, “Photoshop contest”).

As of 2019, Adobe Photoshop CC was the most widely used raster graphics editor across the globe. The software’s versatility makes it suitable for many different types of projects, from simple one-off images to complex designs for advertising and marketing collateral.

It can be used to create both digital photos and illustrations from scratch or to edit existing photos and illustrations.

Adobe Photoshop’s feature set can be expanded by purchasing add-ons known as plugins.


A picture is worth a thousand words, and for over two centuries, photography has helped people capture memories and moments that can be shared over and over again. The history of photography timeline is full of major milestones that have led to the development of this popular art form.

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