An Online Guide to Photography History

The art of photography has come a long way in the past few centuries creating amazing opportunities for individuals to combine both the beautiful style of the original photography with the modern technology available today. In 1826 Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented the first permanent photograph. You have to wonder if he had any idea just what an accomplishment he had come up with and how it would later affect not only the arts but the many vital processes used by law enforcement and military alike.

The first photographs by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce where of landscapes. After teaming up with Louis Daguerre, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce worked to perfect the process of taking permanent photographs until Niépce's death by stroke in 1833. When he passed away he left all of his work to Daguerre. Finally, in 1839 the Daguerre captured the first person ever on a photograph. This was done primarily by accident when the gentlemen stopped long enough when walking on the street Daguerre was photographing to be caught on the film. The process used to create these photos was named daguerreotype.

In 1840 a man named Fox Talbot created what was called the colotype process used to create negative image. This negative image was made with sheets of silver chloride paper. This made it possible for the negative image to be reproduced into positive prints or pictures. From this invention came the increased popularity in photo taking and the invention of a variety of camera types. This was the beginning of photography as it is known today. This article will direct you to some excellent resources for information on how photography developed through the years, the basics of how it all works, and examples of beautiful photographic art.

  • National Geographic: The website for the popular magazine, National Geographic has a page that provides a historical timeline of photography advancements.
  • A History of Photography: This site provides information on photography, and details of those that helped advance the photographic process.
  • Ted's Photographics: A timeline of the photograph evolution with links to additional resources.
  • Kodak: The famous camera company's page that provides information about the early years of photography.
  • Around the World in 1896: A Brief History of Photography: Major milestones in photography from the 1600s, 1800s, and 1900s
  • America's First Look into the Camera:The prints and photographs division of the Library of Congress offers a multitude of daguerreotype information.
  • American Museum of Photography: Provides many resources on the history of photography.
  • Artwork from Photography Provides many resources on the types of photography in art.
  • The Daguerreotype: A detailed look at daguerreotype photography.
  • The Silver Gelatin Dry Plate Process: A look at the forerunner to modern day roll film, this article talks about the dry plate process.
  • EdinPhoto: Information on calotype photography, used in the 1840s and 50s.
  • The Dry Collodion, Collodio-Albumen, and Tannin Processes: An article that explains the photographic processes indicated in the title.
  • Stereoscopic Photography...the Science of Solid Viewing: A website about stereoscopic photography in the 1800s
  • Field Cameras From The U.S.: This website provides information and pictures on early field camera models, broken down by manufacturer.
  • George Eastman House: This website is devoted to photography and film and this page shows pictures of many old cameras.
  • Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: An article about the inventor of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot.
  • Inventor of the Wet Collodion Process: Information about Frederick Scott Archer and how he invented the Wet Collodion photography process.
  • 19th Century Photography: This entire website is geared towards 19th century photography, photographers, and includes images of actual photographs from that time.
  • Flagler Museum: A look at the fall exhibit, "Eloquent Vistas." It features nineteenth century American landscape photography from the George Eastman House Collection. This collection includes 78 early landscape photos.
  • History of Photography: A Listing of Photography Image Resources from the Yale University Library
  • History of Photography: Duke University Libraries offers references on photography history.