When Did Professional Photography Start?
Taking pictures is not just a hobby anymore. Photography is now an art and a science. With the development of new technologies, photographers have found new ways to capture the beauty of nature and humanity. Some photographers even work on a professional basis.
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The earliest known photographic images were taken during the Crimean War in 1853-1856. Portrait photography was the main use of the camera at that time. Before the invention of the daguerreotype, portraits were not an easy thing to achieve. They were a costly process, as they required time for exposure, and a talented artist was needed to produce quality results. In addition, the portraits were often made of glass, which was cumbersome.
In the late 1800s, cameras began to develop rapidly. New inventions, like the wet-plate process, allowed photographs to be taken on a variety of surfaces. Other new processes, such as the cyanotype, also introduced new technologies. Photographers were able to create more accurate, detailed, and more sensitive images while reducing the length of the exposure time. These advances resulted in a more convenient, less expensive, and safer way to take photographs.
In the early years of photography, the Daguerreotype was the most widely used method. The process required fifteen minutes of exposure, which was very long for human subjects. However, it was a lot easier to carry out than the traditional metal plate process, which was messy and cumbersome. There was also a downside to the daguerreotype: it was extremely expensive.
By the late 1800s, different plate technologies were being developed by scientists and astronomers. Naturists, who were largely scientists, often used different types of metal plates. And different manufacturers of lenses were making lenses for the new camera.
The first professional photography studios emerged in the United States and Europe. A photographer named Albert Sands Southworth ran a studio in Boston from 1843-1863. His clients were members of the high society. Many photographers in the mid-1800s traveled in wagons or trains, and they often used lenses made by optical manufacturers.
In the late 1800s, a movement known as Pictorialism emerged. The new style of photography emphasized a clear composition and good contrast. This style of photography also favored clear lines and clean backgrounds. It was aimed at a change in focus from the dappled surfaces and tonality of earlier styles.
Photographic images started appearing in newspapers and public shows. New technology made it possible for amateurs to become photographers. At the same time, more advanced camera designs and lens designs reduced the time required to take photos.
Another new invention was the dry-plate process. Richard Maddox invented the process in 1871, which removed the need to coat a photo plate with flammable chemicals. This process was a safer alternative to the traditional wet-plate process. Dry plates were less expensive and could be stored until needed.
As the late 1800s progressed, the technology of camera design and lens technology improved, and the industry continued to grow. More and more photographers entered the industry and the cost of equipment and materials declined. During this time, the Kodak company developed a variety of cameras for the general public.