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A brief history of the development and evolution of photography is provided by the following list.

  • 350 BC - Camera obscura, using a pin-hole, was in use in darkened rooms.
  • 1519 - Leonardo da Vinci made a drawing of the camera obscura.
  • 1666 - Isaac Newton demonstrated that light was the source of colour - using one prism to split sunlight into the colours of the visible spectrum and another to recombine the colours to make white light.
  • 1727 - Professor Johann Heinrich Schulze accidentally created the first photo-sensitive compound by mixing nitric acid, silver and chalk in a flask. He observed darkening of the compound when it was exposed to sunlight.
  • 1800 - Thomas Wedgwood made "sun pictures" by placing opaque objects on leather treated with silver nitrate, but the images faded rapidly in daylight.
  • 1816 - Nicéphore Niépce used the camera obscura with photosensitive paper.
  • 1825 - Nicéphore Niépce solved the problem of fixing an image on a "heliographic plate" and created a permanent image.
  • 1827 - Nicéphore Niépce began working with Louis Jacques-Mandé Daguerre to improve a process that became known as "heliography".
  • 1834 - Henry Fox Talbot created a permanent negative image using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a solution of salt. He then produced positive images by contact printing onto a second sheet of paper.
  • 1837 - Daguerre, working alone, perfected a process that recorded camera obscura images in great detail.
  • 1839 - Details of the daguerreotype process were revealed to the world as "photography".
  • 1840 - William Henry Fox Talbot, an English scientist trained at Cambridge University, developed a "photogenic drawing" process (the Calotype) which led to the production of numerous positive prints made from the same image.
  • 1840 - The first commercial portrait studios opened in the US, and others in London and Paris a short time later.
  • 1847 - Charles Betts took the first photographs of war during the American-Mexican War.
  • 1851 - Frederick Scott Archer, a London sculptor, improved photographic resolution. He used a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcohol) and other chemicals spread on a sheet of glass.
  • 1851 - Calotype enthusiasts exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London, where a new technique based upon a glass negatives coated with collodion also gained recognition.
  • 1852 - Governments and public institutions showed increasing interest in the potential of the new photographic medium.
  • 1853 - UK's Royal Photographic Society was founded.
  • 1853 - There were more than one hundred daguerreotype studios in existence.
  • 1854 - Adolphe Disderi developed carte-de-visite photography in Paris, which led to a huge increase in portrait studios.
  • 1855 - 70 - The collodion process was used, in conjunction with an albumen-coated paper printing technique, as the principal photographic method.
  • 1853 - 56 - Armed forced employed photographers to document the Crimean War.
  • 1855 - The start of the stereoscopic era.
  • 1858 - Felix Tournachon captures the first aerial photograph from a tethered balloon above Paris.
  • 1861 - A Scottish physicist, James Clerk-Maxwell, demonstrated a color photography system involving a set of three black and white photographs taken through red, green and blue filters. Images were transferred to lantern slides and projected in registration with the relevant color filters.
  • 1861 - 65 - The American Civil War is documented.
  • 1862 - Louis Ducos du Hauron began development of a camera and photographic process designed to record full colour images.
  • 1870 - Despite huge advances in technique, photography was still severely limited by practical problems.
  • 1870 - The number of books published on photography increased rapidly, and images began appearing in magazines and periodicals.
  • 1871 - Gelatin emulsion was invented by Richard Maddox.
  • 1887 - Hannibal Goodwin, a US clergyman, introduced celluloid film base for roll film.
  • 1889 - Kodak introduce a snapshot camera loaded with a roll of flexible film - the beginning of amateur photography.
  • 1862 - Louis Ducos du Hauron began development of a camera and photographic process designed to record full colour images.
  • 1900 - The Kodak Brownie roll-film camera was introduced.
  • 1906 - Panchromatic black-and-white film became available.
  • 1907 - Auguste and Louis Lumiére, from Lyons in France, devised a varnished glass screen coated on one side with tiny randomly-scattered particles of starch dyed in the three primary colours. A layer of panchromatic emulsion was applied to the reverse. The plates were processed to give a positive colour image. This became known as the "autochrome" process.
  • 1914 - Oscar Barnack, of Leitz, developed a camera using a 36 x 24mm frame and 35mm movie film.
  • 1924 - Leitz introduced the first high-quality 35mm camera - the Leica.
  • 1935 - Kodachrome, the first commercial three-layer colour film based on the autochrome principle, became available.
  • 1942 - Kodak introduced Kodacolor, their first colour-negative print film.
  • 1948 - Hasselblad, of Sweden, introduced its first medium-format SLR.
  • 1948 - Pentax, a Japanese company, introduced the first automatic diaphragm.
  • 1949 - Zeiss, of East Germany, produced the first SLR with a reversed image in a pentaprism viewfinder - the Contax S.
  • 1963 - Instant colour film was introduced by Polaroid.
  • 1969 - Apollo astronauts land on the Moon carrying modified Hasselblad medium-format film cameras.
  • 1973 - The C-41 colour negative processing system was introduced.
  • 1985 - Minolta introduced the first autofocus SLR.
  • 1990 - Adobe Photoshop was introduced.
  • 1991 - Kodak introduced the DCS-100, the first digital SLR.
  • 1999 - Nikon introduced the D1, a 2.75 Megapixel DSLR, the first purpose built DSLR by a major manufacturer.
  • 2004 - Kodak ceases production of all its film cameras.
  • 2007 - Nikon introduced the D3, a 12.Megapixel DSLR with a full-frame sensor capable of shooting 9 frames per second.
  • 2009 - Kodak ceases production of the iconic Kodachrome 64 film as a consequence of falling sales.
  • 2012 - Kodak files for bankruptcy in the US.
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