A Brief History of Photography

roll of camera filmOver the last few hundred years, memories have been immortalized through the invention of the camera. However, the history of photography—derived from the Greek words “photos” (which means light) and “graphein” (which means to draw)—began much earlier. Chinese and Greek philosophers, including Aristotle, described the principles of optics and light that make modern photography possible as early as the 5th or 4th century BC. Since then, the concept of creating pictures with light has transformed into one of the most technologically-advanced fields and pastimes today.

From Lights, to Cameras

Today, most people’s cellphones can capture everyday images with lifelike clarity and quality. Before that, however, taking pictures wasn’t so simple.

  • In the 1660’s, Sir Isaac Newton discovers that white light is actually comprised of all of the basic colors (the colors you see in a rainbow). Meanwhile, black, or darkness, is the absent of any colors of the light spectrum. His discovery helps pave the way for the future invention of photography.
  • In the early 1800’s, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, a Frenchman, created the first photographic image using a camera obscura—a primitive pinhole camera that, before then, was only useful as a drawing tool. The image required eight full hours of light exposure to become visible, and faded soon afterwards.
  • The first photographic image that didn’t fade away (and only required 30 minutes of light exposure) was created by Louis Daguerre in the late 1830’s. Daguerre later partnered with Niepce to develop more effective and efficient ways to take photographs.
  • By the time the 1900’s came around, the science of photography had advanced enough to make mass-marketed, handheld cameras, complete with rolls of portable film, available to the general public. In the 1960’s, Polaroid developed the first instantly-developed color film, and in the beginning of the 2000’s, the first camera-equipped cellphones were introduced.


Dallas-based professional photographer and videographer, Doug Davis, has worked with a wide range of clients, from American Airlines to the Susan B. Komen Foundation. If you’d like to learn more, or if you need the services of a highly-experienced professional photographer, then contact D-Squared Studios today at (214) 746-6336.