Photography Through the Ages
The art of photography is one of the most insightful and valuable passions created by man. Since time immemorial, man has been obsessed with capturing the sights and sounds he sees on to a medium for later perusal. While ancient image capturing required the hard work and toil of artists to draw and paint images on canvas and paper, the modern form of photography appeared in the mid-1800s; with the ability to capture an image using a light-sensitive material, the image entered a blackened box through a lens. This simple solution provided a simple outline, something with which we as humans could recreate our world on other objects and pause time momentarily for eternity. The art of photography was slowly perfected to recreate picture-perfect details of objects with utmost clarity. Unfortunately, for most of the past two centuries since the dawn of photography, these images were monochrome, capturing only light and shadow.
The advancement in photographic film technology throughout the early decades of the previous century enabled the recreation of color imaging on high-quality photographic plates, ones that encompassed the entire gamut of the visible spectrum. However, the existing form of photography was complex, both as a storage medium, as well as a medium for recreating images. The underlying technology was that of focussing light reflected from an object to a ‘film’ coated with some form of light-sensitive material. This material needed to be processed to generate a ‘negative’ with inverted light information. Upon shining light through the negative, the final image could be viewed or printed out onto paper. To simplify this complex process, scientists and engineers created solutions where light would excite a device that would convey that information electronically, and be stored as a sequence of 0s and 1s; giving rise to digital photography.
Digital photography equipment came to the consumers by the late 1990s. Just as with its film precursors, old digital cameras captured images that were grainy, lacked depth and detail, and were bulky and inconvenient. However, since the technology was similar to that of computing technology, using semiconducting material to convert light to information; the improvement in the computing industry saw the improvement of the quality of digital photography equipment. As of the late 2000s; the emergence of high-quality and practical digital cameras made photography simpler and more practical. Digital photography received its greatest boon from smartphones. Smartphones are portable computing devices that can perform a variety of functions. Advancement in light sensor technology started making the sensors smaller; small enough to be incorporated onto devices that were no more than a few millimeters wide. The large screens of smartphones provided exceptional ease of use for capturing images. The growth of the smartphone as a viable image capturing device has made them comparable to professional-grade cameras; and the computing power of these devices allowed consumers to not only capture images but also process them and store them en masse.
In the current day and age, photography has become democratized, giving anyone with a smartphone or a DSLR the ability to capture high-quality images for their personal use. With the growth of social media and the internet, it has become easier to share and spread images throughout the globe in a matter of seconds. The immense power of digital photography has made communication easier and more vibrant, with information being shared not only through the medium of text, but also through the medium of images.