1939 Footage Marvels at the First Hundred Years of Photography

Oh, photography! What a wonderful, beautiful thing! The ability to capture a moment in time, ours to enjoy for years, decades, and even centuries. The earliest form of photography, camera obscura and pinhole cameras, can be traced back to the ancient Chinese and Greeks. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that images could be preserved on something tangible. Take a walk through the first hundred years of photographic history with this delightful video from 1939:

Everyone can appreciate the wonders of photography, yet its importance in the progression of so much technology—past and present—is often over looked. (Via PetaPixel)

history of photography

This is an early example of a camera, developed by Englishman Henry Fox Talbot.

From documenting noteworthy persons and world events to recording important scientific information in space and on land, the significance of photography was felt from a very early stage. It soon prompted the advancement of mechanics, such as aerial survey tracing, x-ray cameras, and the illustrious moving picture. The radio transmittance of images was a remarkable development that allowed people to share images worldwide.

history of photography

An important moment in time: the ability to photograph a bullet traveling one thousand feet per second.

In 1939, it was exceptional to behold scientific micro-photographs and nature studies on film. And finally humanity could witness the impossible beauty of life in slow motion.

It’s astounding to think how far photography has come since this film was created, in both technology and accessibility. These days it is not hard to imagine even young children possessing their own digital still and video cameras and sharing the results instantly around the globe.

But it is in the alarming rate of technological advancements that we sometimes may forget to stop and marvel at the gift within our grip—our cameras. Take a minute to appreciate the importance of the development of photography and how lucky we are to have this incredible device to document our own special moments, people, and places.

“Have we made progress? The answer’s in the negative. That’s positive.”

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