This animated timeline is a concise history of some of the most important events to shape photography from 1839 – 2008.
- 5th-4th Centuries B.C.
Chinese and Greek philosophers describe the basic principles of optics and the camera.
Isaac Newton discovers that white light is composed of different colors.
Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that silver nitrate darkened upon exposure to light.
First Panorama opens, the forerunner of the movie house invented by Robert Barker.
Joseph Niepce achieves first photographic image with camera obscura – however, the image required eight hours of light exposure and later faded.
Louis Daguerre’s first daguerreotype – the first image that was fixed and did not fade and needed under thirty minutes of light exposure.
First American patent issued in photography to Alexander Wolcott for his camera.
William Henry Talbot patents the Calotype process – the first negative-positive process making possible the first multiple copies.
First advertisement with a photograph made in Philadelphia.
Frederick Scott Archer invented the Collodion process – images required only two or three seconds of light exposure.
Panoramic camera patented – the Sutton.
Oliver Wendell Holmes invents stereoscope viewer.
Photographs and photographic negatives are added to protected works under copyright.
Richard Leach Maddox invented the gelatin dry plate silver bromide process – negatives no longer had to be developed immediately.
Eastman Dry Plate Company founded.
George Eastman invents flexible, paper-based photographic film.
Eastman patents Kodak roll-film camera.
Reverend Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film.
First mass-marketed camera—the Brownie.
First 35mm still camera developed.
General Electric invents the modern flash bulb.
First light meter with photoelectric cell introduced.
Eastman Kodak markets Kodachrome film.
Eastman Kodak introduces Kodacolor negative film.
Chester Carlson receives patent for electric photography (xerography).
Edwin Land markets the Polaroid camera.
Eastman Kodak introduces high speed Tri-X film.
EG&G develops extreme depth underwater camera for U.S. Navy.
Polaroid introduces instant color film.
Photograph of the Earth from the moon.
Polaroid introduces one-step instant photography with the SX-70 camera.
George Eastman and Edwin Land inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Konica introduces first point-and-shoot, autofocus camera.
Sony demonstrates first consumer camcorder.
Canon demonstrates first digital electronic still camera.
Pixar introduces digital imaging processor.
Eastman Kodak announces Photo CD as a digital image storage medium.