Silver 2 Sensor : Episode 1 ( Camera obscura )

Everyone is interested in photography. Here everyone means most of us are interested to either look at pictures or click them. Because, it serves as a unique medium that links art and science which helps us to  create and document a moment for a lifetime or more.  As soon as you get a digital camera or a DSLR what is the first thing you Google? It will be usually, how to get best images with digital camera, How to get sharp images or best settings for your camera model or a unboxing or review video of your camera on YouTube. Maximum you will study about digital photography, shutter, aperture and ISO.

But what are we missing here? ( I am not talking about the manual and the CD that comes with the Camera – Nobody reads it!)

We are missing the “wow!” factor.

Yes the “wow” factor of how photography was invented, how it is evolved and how are you able to see the images on your LCD screen right after the moment you took your image from where it took hours to process one image.

Imagine, if you know the evolution of photography which started, way back in 4th century BC (Yes! I am not kidding) you will be more fascinated to see your image when u click it you will have thousand times more respect towards photography and you will feel more proud to be photographer.

This series will feature the history of photography and its evolution and the achievements of great minds behind it. It is my chance to learn and spread the power and importance of Photography.

So where do we begin?

We begin with Aristotle, a famous Greek philosopher and teacher of Alexander the great. Yes that is where the history of photography begins. Aristotle along with renowned Greek mathematician Euclid built a concept called “Camera obscura”, which says that when light passes through the small pinhole, it creates an inverted image on the nearby surface. This concept is similar to the modern pinhole camera. Aristotle got this idea when he viewed the crescent shape of a partially eclipsed sun projected on the ground through the holes in a sieve and through the gaps between the leaves of a plane tree.

Many people of that time thought camera obscura was actually a set up that explains the phenomena of light travelling in a straight line. But they don’t know that the pin hole actually creates an inverted image on the plain surface.

It was Alazhen (965 – 1040)  , a Persian physicist and mathematician who explained the clear concept of camera obscura and said that images can be projected through the device. He was thus the first to successfully project an entire image from outdoors onto a screen indoors with the camera obscura.

In the later centuries camera obscura was used as a device to visualize celestial events like solar eclipses. It is widely used by artists like Leonardo Da Vinci to create drawings and paintings of city scapes etc. They usually place a paper or canvas in front of the pinhole and when the image of the outside world falls on it they will trace over the image which will help them create accurate replica of what was outside.

A illustration of Camera obscura projecting an image from outside

Art works of Cannatello using the image created by camera Obscura

For those who thought photography is only two centuries old , will now know how long photography is been travelling with us. It was out there and wisely used by many people around the world , but from what we have looked so far we can clearly see that we are missing something . Photographic “film” is what we are missing here.

In the coming episodes we will see the discovery of photochemical effect and invention of silver compounds  ( Silver nitrate and Silver chloride ) which lead the way for the next step in Photography .

to be continued…

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