Photography as we know it today was made possible by the invention of the camera. The concept of the camera dates back to ancient times, when philosophers and scientists used the camera obscura (Latin for “dark room”) to study the way that light worked. The camera obscura was a dark room or box with a small hole in one side. Light would pass through the hole and project an inverted image of the outside world onto the opposite wall.
The first recorded instance of the camera obscura being used for image projection was by the Chinese philosopher Mozi, who lived in the 5th century BC. The camera obscura was later developed and used by philosophers and scientists in ancient Greece, such as Euclid and Aristotle, to study optics and the properties of light.
The first device that could capture a permanent image was the camera lucida, which was invented by the British scientist William Hyde Wollaston in 1807. The camera lucida was a drawing aid that used a prism to project an image of the subject onto paper, allowing the artist to trace the image.
The first practical process for capturing and reproducing a permanent photograph was the daguerreotype, which was developed by the French artist Louis Daguerre in the 1830s. The daguerreotype process used a silver-plated copper sheet coated with silver iodide, which was exposed to light and then developed using mercury fumes.
In the 1860s, new processes were developed that allowed for the mass production of photographs, including the wet plate collodion process and the dry plate gelatin process. These processes paved the way for the development of modern photography and the widespread use of cameras.