Photography as a word has its origins in the Greek words ‘photos’ meaning light and ‘graphe’ meaning drawing or writing. The concept of ‘drawing with light’ is a beautiful one and a great reminder of the potency of photographs as an art form in an age where digital and printed pictures bombard us from every angle.
The invention of the technology that enables photography, the camera, existed even before photography as we know it did. Photographic cameras evolved from the ‘camera obscura’, a device that could project images using light and assisted painters in creating precise imagery.
The first photograph captured by a camera was around 1816 by a man named Nicephore Niepce. He used a very small, home made camera and a piece of paper coated with silver chloride, which darkened where it was exposed to light. The first practical camera was built in 1836 and was called the ‘Dagguerreotype’ after it’s creator Louis Daguerre. Nicephore Niepce was Daguerre’s partner but died before their invention was completed.
Today, many of us can ‘draw’ or ‘write’ with light with our phones, with pocket sized digital cameras and with complexly built digital SLRs. They’re lighter than cameras that used film or copper plates and give us the joy of instantly viewing and sharing the image.
All these images we collect up, whether professional or slightly blurry save memories and capture moments and atmosphere and can even boost our mood when feeling low.
But make sure to print a few of the special ones and store them away carefully for next generations to cherish, because just as our ancestors mightn’t have been aware of how best to look after printed photos, we are only beginning to understand the best ways to preserve and archive digital information.
dak photography is owned and run by Dublin based photographer David Kenna.