Photography is one of the most transformative inventions in human history. It has reshaped and changed the course of human events in innumerable ways. But how many people actually know the true roots of modern photography?
I’m not referring to the invention of the camera obscura way back in the 1700s; I’m referring to its popularization or its beginnings as a mass medium. That would be the photographic process known as the Daguerreotype:
“On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of Sciences announced the daguerreotype process. A few months later, on August 19, 1839, the French government purchased the patent and announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World”.
In 1839, William Henry Fox Talbot presented a paper to the Royal Society of London describing his photographic invention, the Calotype. This was the first photographic process that was based on negatives, allowing for multiple copies of a singe photograph to be produced. The celluloid based film introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1884 uses the same principle as the Calotype.”
In fact, appreciating how far photography has progressed in a relatively short time is one the reasons World Photography Day was created, according to founder Korske Ana:
“So often, we forget that there was once a time that we couldn’t instantly share moments with friends and family across the globe. Today, we take photography for granted.”
Here are some other memorable moments in the history of photography (how many did you know?):
- 1913 — First commercial 35 mm camera for movie and still photography, the Tourist Multiple (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/35_mm_film)
- 1975 — First digital camera prototype (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_photography#History)
- 1990 — First commercially available digital camera, the Dycam Model 1 (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_photography#History)
- 1997 — First digital photo shared instantly via camera phone (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_phone)
One of the more interesting stories in modern photography of late involves the movement known as Lomography:
“Lomography began…in the early 1990s when a group of students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat – a small, enigmatic Russian camera. Mindlessly taking the shot from the hip, and sometimes looking through the viewfinder, they were astounded with the mind-blowing photos that it produced – the colours were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot – it was nothing like they had seen before!”
In the midst of our über-digital world, Lomography is an increasingly popular subculture devoted to the “unique imagery and style of analog photography” — complete with its own defining mantra: “Don’t think, just shoot.” The aesthetic and philosophy behind Lomography can be summarized in one word: spontaneity. Like any respectable movement, it has even established its own Ten Golden Rules:
- Take your camera everywhere you go.
- Use it any time – day and night.
- Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it.
- Try the shot from the hip.
- Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.
- Don’t think. (William Firebrace)
- Be fast.
- You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film.
- Afterwards either.
- Don’t worry about any rules.
As you might expect, the PhotoLab heartily endorses anything that promotes interest in photography and Lomography is no exception. In fact, the London Drugs Photo department will soon be offering two of the cameras that have become mainstays within the movement:
- The Konstruktor DIY Kit: A fun build-it-yourself 35mm Lomo camera kit. This kit is great for everyone from photo enthusiast to the young first time photographer. As you build the camera yourself you see the inner working of a basic camera.
- The Diana instant camera and The Diana-f deluxe Kit: The Diana uses Fuji instax film, while the deluxe kit can use 120 film or 35mm with the supplied adapter.
To support these great products we will be offering in-store events and workshops covering Lomo-centric topics, like how to build your Konstruktor using the DIY kit.
Of course, the world at large transitioned to digital photography a long time ago, and the PhotoLab eagerly adapted with it. At the same time, we never abandoned traditional film processing. So rest assured; once you’ve established yourself as a dyed-in-the-wool Lomographer, we’ll be there to develop your film if you’re not inclined to do it yourself.
We can’t wait to see what you create!