60 Amazing Photography Facts to Surprise You

Say cheese… click, click, click…Photography is probably that simple today. Today everyone has a camera – at least those small digital ones and everyone merrily clicks photographs here and there – capturing moments and freezing time. But, we need to remember that even diamonds started off as coal.

Today what’s easy in the photography world was once a herculean task. Let us not waste time beating around the bush any further and learn 60 interesting photography facts that will simply blow away your mind.

Photography Facts: 1-5

1. The ‘Kodak Moment’ – you must remember the commercial, don’t you? Popularly known as Kodak, the Eastman Kodak Company that was founded in 1888 by George Eastman and by 1976, the company captured 90% of market share in terms of sales of photographic films in the US. 

2. Kodak was really slow to make a transition into digital photography and by late 90s, even the sale of photographic films dropped so significantly that Kodak almost became bankrupt. In 2012 (January), the company filed for bankruptcy protection as per Chapter 11 of US bankruptcy law and was forced to sell several of its patents at a price of $525 million to companies like HTC, Adobe Systems, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple by 2013. This helped the company to emerge from bankruptcy on September 4, 2013. 

3. It is very ironic that the core technology used in digital photography today was actually invented by Kodak. 

4. Traveling back in time, photography wasn’t as simple as ‘smile and click’ as we see today. Back in the 1820s, early cameras would take several hours to actually capture a film! Technology is great, isn’t it?

5. Back in those days, photographing people was one hell of a task. With annoyingly long exposure hours of several hours, photographing people with a nice smile was not really possible. Why? Simple! Try and hold a convincing smile for hours and you will get your answer. 

Photography Facts: 6-10

6. Photographing adult people was still okay but when it came to photographing children, things turned even more difficult. Most of the time mothers had to sit all covered and disguised as chairs holding their babies. Today it’s faster and you can always buy Adobe Photoshop and merge several photos for a perfect baby photography.

7. Because of this enormously herculean task of photographing babies/children, a very eerie way was adopted for photographing children (though not always). And, what was that? Children were photographed after they died! That way, children would stay still for as long as required. This isn’t something that can be appreciated but it is definitely jaw-dropping. 

8. In the 1940s Rapatronic Photographic technique was developed by Dr. Harold Edgerton. The technique was used for capturing the growth of the fireball of early nuclear explosions and the cameras had exposure time of 10 nanoseconds. Multiple cameras (4 to 10) were set with each rapatronic camera taking just one photograph at different intervals to capture the growth of the fireball.

9. Today, the number of photographs clicked every two minutes is the same as the number of photographs clicked by mankind in the 1800s.

10. The first ever digital camera to be created was in December 1975. It was developed by an engineer in Kodak Company and took 23 seconds to create the first photograph. The camera only recorded black and white photographs of 0.1 mega pixels. The camera weighed 8 pounds. 

Photography Facts: 11-15

11. The total number of photographs present on Facebook is 10,000 times greater than the total number of photographs that can be found at the US Library of Congress. Photographs in US Library of Congress are a documentation of US history since its very beginning.

12. In 1826 a French photographer by the name Nicéphore Niépce clicked a photograph popular by the name ‘View From The Window At Le Gras’. He clicked the photograph from the window of his estate. Guess what? The exposure time for the photograph was ONLY 8 hours! 

13. The first ever color photograph was shot in 1861 by a Scott physicist by the name of James Clark Maxwell. He used yellow, blue and red filters separately to photograph a tartan ribbon and then combined the three images to create the final color photograph.

14. Austria’s Joseph Puchberger was the person to hold the first patent of panoramic camera. The patent application was submitted in 1843. The application was for a hand-cranked camera of 8-inch focal length and 150⁰ field view. 

15. A 4MP digital camera was once the talk of the town, but soon went into oblivion with manufacturers of likes of Canon and Nikon coming out with cameras of 22+ MP. You think that’s pretty awesome right? Here’s a bummer for you! Get yourself the Mamiya 645DF and amaze yourself with an amazing 80MP! It comes with a very small price tag of $37,995.00 only! Dare to buy?

Photography Facts: 16-20

16. The oldest known photograph to have a person (human) in the shot was clicked in Paris in 1838. The man was actually getting his shoe polished! 

17. Talking of numbers, take a look at the timeline image below and be fascinated:

30 Interesting Photography Facts

18. A photography competition was held in 2011 by the name Wiki Loves Monuments. Vereniging Wikimedia Nederland of Netherlands was one of the entrants who submitted 168,208 images in the competition. The images were clicked from July 1, 2011 to September 31, 2011. No doubt, they hold the world record of submitting the maximum numbers of photographs in a competition. 

19. Wake Forest University’s James Schirillo and Kelsey Blackburn conducted a study in which they concluded that the left side of a human face produces a more pleasant photograph compared to the right side of the face! They concluded that this happens possibly because the left side has more emotional intensity compared to the right side! 

20. What is the single most effective photo type for any woman? It is the MySpace shot. To take a MySpace picture, the camera needs to be placed above the head at a specific angle. This however is not true for men. Photographs of men become more effective when they don’t smile and look away from the camera. 

Photography Facts: 21-25

21. The most expensive camera to be ever sold is the 1923 Leica O-Series camera. This very rare specimen was put on auction in Vienna during a weekend and it was sold for $2.8 million or € 2.16 million!

22. Mumbai, India – based Dilish Parekh holds the world record of collecting the maximum number of antique cameras. Since 1977, this man collected 4,425 antique cameras with the oldest one in his collection being one from 1906. 

23. There are more than 240 billion photos that have been uploaded on Facebook. As of August 2013, 350 million photographs were uploaded on Facebook every single day!

24. Ever heard of a whole building being used as a huge camera? The runways and control tower of California’s U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro is the largest photograph to exist. It was photographed with a single exposure on a sanitized fabric. The whole building was used as a camera. The photograph was a part of the Legacy Project and is referred to as the Great Picture. It is 111 feet wide and 32 feet high! 

25. The saddest photograph considered till date is that of a vulture stalking a child in Sudan. It was clicked by photojournalist Kevin Carter from Johannesburg, South Africa. The photograph depicted Sudan’s 1994 famine. Carter received the Pulitzer Prize for the photograph. However, he was so disturbed by all the sad stories he captured in his camera that he committed suicide at the age of 33. His suicide note stated:

I’m really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist… depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners … I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky.” 

Photography Facts: 26-30

26. Lumière Brothers were the first to introduce a viable color process in the world of photography. In 1907 they developed the first Autochrome plate.

27. The credit for the first ever aerial photograph goes to Gaspar Felix Tournachon – a French photographer. He was a balloonist and took his first aerial photograph from a hot air balloon. 

28. George Eastman – the founder of Kodak committed suicide at the age of 77 in year 1932. He brought photography to the masses and was suffering with spine disorder. In his suicide note he wrote: “My work is done – Why wait?

29. Moon’s surface is a cold graveyard for 12 Hasselblad cameras. They were taken to the moon during the first landing of man on moon. However, in order to carry back lunar rock samples, those cameras were left there to compensate for the additional weight. 

30. The first photographic image made with camera obscura was by Joseph Nicéphore Niépc in 1827. Prior to that, camera obscura was used only for drawing or viewing.

Photography Facts: 31-35

31. World Photography Day is celebrated every year on 19th of August. It started when two Frenchmen – Joseph Nicephore Niepce and Louis Daguerre invented Daguerreotype, a photographic process.

32. On 9th January, 1839, the French Academy of Sciences formally announced the Daguerreotype process. On 19th August of the same year, the government of France bought the patent rights and made it free for all.

33. This process was used in the oldest camera of the world. It was built by a French company, Susse Freres.

34. The costliest photograph of the world is the Rhein II. Andreas Gursky was the one who filmed it. It was sold for nearly 4.3 million dollars in the year 2011.

35. On 28th July, 1851, Julius Berkowski took the first photo of a total solar eclipse.

Photography Facts: 36-40

36. The word photography originates from two Greek words ‘photos’ and ‘graphé’. The meaning of the words is a ‘drawing with light’.

37. The first ever digital camera was invented by Steve Sasson of the Eastman Kodak in 1975.

38. The photographs of Ansel Adams were mostly distorted in the darkroom. The usual distortions were burning and dodging.

39. There are nearly 80 genres and 10 sub-genres of photography according to Wikipedia.

40. As per Guinness, the longest photo negative of the world is more than 260 feet long. Esteban Pastorino Diaz created it with help of Didi Dache in Beijing, China. It was created on the 3rd of August, 2015.

Photography Facts: 41-45

41. If research of Edward Vul and Drew Walker is to be believed, then we look more attractive in group photos than in individual ones. This is termed as Cheerleader Effect.

42. If you think that cats are ruling the internet and YouTube in the 21st century, then you are completely wrong. Their photos have ruled the hearts of humans since the 1870’s. It all started when Harry Pointer started taking normal pictures of cats. But, he soon realized that humans love the crazy side of the cats.

43. Research conducted by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, showed that chances of you getting your lost wallet increases if you have someone’s photo in it. The researchers deliberately lost 240 wallets which had the contact address of the owners. Over 100 wallets were returned. 88% of the returned wallets had an infant’s photo followed by a puppy’s photo (return rate of 53%). The family photo came third with 48% of return rate and the photo of an elderly couple had a return rate of 28%. Surprisingly, only 15% of the wallets were returned which had no photo at all!

44. Wake Forest University’s James Schirillo and Kelsey Blackburn conducted a research and according to that research, our left side of the face is considered more attractive than the right side. It is said in the research that the left side is more attractive because the observer finds the left side pleasing and it shows intense emotions.

45. The most viewed photograph till now is the Bliss, a wallpaper of Windows XP. It was taken by Charles O’Rear, an American photographer.

Photography Facts: 46-50

46. The first ever photographic paper was made of asphalt. Actually, the glass or copper plate was coated with asphalt varnish.

47. Negative was invented by Talbot in the year 1839. The positive print was invented by Hippolyte Bayard in the same year.

48. The first-time humans took a photo of the moon was in 1851. The photo of the dark side of the moon was taken in 1959.

49. We generally use ‘photo’ for the word photograph. But, did you know who used the word photo first? It was Queen Victoria. She wrote the word for the first time in a letter she wrote in 1860. What about a megapixel? It was used for the first time in 1984.

50. It was in 1988 that humans took the first ever digital photograph.

Photography Facts: 51-55

51. Color photography plates were first produced by the firm, Lumiere in 1904.

52. As per stats, only 2 out of 10 photos taken by digital cameras are printed on paper.

53. Digital photography saved the lives of many people. Earlier, chemicals like silver nitrate, mercury, lye etc. were used to develop the photographs. Exposure for long hours was dangerous and sometimes led to madness or even death of the poor photographers.

54. ImagePro was a software created by Knoll brothers in 1987. Adobe bought it and created the famous Photoshop. Its first version was released on 19th February 1990.

55. The first-ever description of a camera can be dated back to 4th or 5th The description was that of a pinhole camera.

Photography Facts: 56-60

56. The first photo of a tornado was taken in South Dakota on 28 August 1884.

57. Kodak designed the first camera of the company “Apple”. Its name was Apple Quicktake. It was released in 1994.

58. Gustav Le Gray was the one who came up with the idea of HDR photography. He used two negatives – a sky’s negative and a sea’s negative which had a longer exposure than the sky. He then merged the two in positive.

59. Anatol Joseph – a Russian, invented photo booth in New York in 1925.

60. Adolphe Braun was the person to take the first ever fashion photo in 1856. French were the ones who invented fashion photography. La Mode Pratique was the first fashion magazine in the world.

DID YOU KNOW? There is a photo called Hand of Hope. In that photo, we can see an unborn baby pushed his or her hand out of the surgical incision on the uterus (during C-section) and held one of the fingers of the surgeon. The surgeon was so overwhelmed that he started crying and was spellbound for a few minutes.

Sources…

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