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History Of The Camera - A Timeline For The Color Photographic Print
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History Of the Camera  -  A Timeline for the Color Photographic Print

Color photography takes predominant occupation in the history of the camera. It would take a series of articles in itself to adequately yet briefly cover the entire topic. The purpose of this article is to skim over the most notable developments of the color photographic print. We will cover only the era of the photographic plate because by the time roll film replaced it, most of the color processing problems were fixed. Enjoy! ...

1840s

Early on, folks were about trying to find chemicals that would assume whatever color light was exposed to them, doing what a chameleon does. We have this activity beginning and spanning the Daguerreotype photographic process. The greatest issues around this experimentation concerned mostly preservation of the exposed daguerreotypes.

1850s

At the beginning of the decade, daguerreotype enthusiast, Levi Hill worked with color photography, trying to work out the decay issue with colors fading completely or partially away.

Edmond Becquerel managed to improve this somewhat, but still couldn’t find a way to stop the fading that occurred the moment they were brought out into the light for viewing.

Throughout the decade, improvements were made but none of it yielding any practical value. James Clerk Maxwell extensively studies the RGB color model and writes a dissertation on it.

1860s

In 1861, Maxwell holds an exhibit of the processes as they were at the time. The demonstration evidently is botched and the process loses everyone’s interest. It quickly fades into oblivion, though, throughout this and the next two decades, photography enthusiasts would keep rediscovering the three-color code.

During this time German chemist Hermann Wilhelm Vogel discovers that the red plate sensitivity to light makes forward strides and the others readily improved upon using certain dyes in the chemicals for the red plate.

1890s

The three-color process regains public attention and further studies are done on it.

The introduction of additive color comes to light. In this process, light from the three filters are added together to create any desired color. On the same token, subtractive color process began as well which worked very well for transparencies and color prints. Dyes were used in the subtractive/additive processes. Even though, both of these processes were extremely labor-intensive and inconvenient, having to expose the plate three separate times, changing the filter each time and risking knocking the camera kitty-wumpus, spoiling the print from the triple exposure not lining up properly.

Color Cameras Arrive on the Scene

The color processes of the turn of the century were still arduous and there were several innovators on the problem of so many actions needing to be done during a shooting session for a single print.

Something had to be done with the filter and the having to shoot three times. Two methods came on the scene, both of which were promising, and in fact, were the predecessors of everything that was yet to come. Also, more work was to be done with the fading problem and the sensitivity of the emulsions themselves, especially the red.

The first method required using mirrors to divide and redirect the incoming light through the three filters, finally to the three plates for each color. Though there were still three plates involved, there was only one camera and done with one push of the button. These evolved into the “one-shot” cameras that continued in use into the 1950s when it was finally discontinued.

The second method was simply a perfection of what was already in place. Known as drop-back cameras then, they followed the same design as the older, more inconvenient outfits except sliders for the filters were added and soon after, clockwork added to the mechanism to make do the entire process far more conveniently...and later automatically.

From this point on, color photography was well on its way. When all is said and done, the extreme action camera equipment we have these days still rely on the discoveries made in 1840s.

To Recap the Above:

  • Throughout the 1840s and ‘50s, the earliest attempts at color photography using developing chemicals were under experimentation. The very basics were worked out by 1860.
  • Through a 30-40 year period, both the additive and subtractive color processes were developed
  • Also during this time period, remained extremely challenging and though supplies increasingly became available, they remained impractical for mass production.
  • The 1890s saw an explosion of scientific discoveries and improvisations. This was also true for the color camera and the color photographic print.

Prior to the late 1890s, color photography extremely difficult and a pipe dream for most enthusiasts. Today sports photography is totally user-friendly, nothing more than adding the required accessories, such as filters, lenses and other peripherals, and in the most advanced camera outfits today, tweak the image quality and a plethora of ways to use the cameras outside of their default settings.


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Eric15  

there are dead links here.

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  about 9 years ago
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