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Key Definitions:

• Positive and negative images-

(Mark Comon, 2007, ‘what’s the difference between positive and negative film’
cameras-and-film-cameras/whats-the-difference-between-positive-and-negative-film, date accessed 5/05/09)

Negative prints are made for production of a print or photograph. Positive prints are made to produce slides or

Figure 2 Positive image (Kazumi crafts, 2007, Figure 1 Negative image before and after processing
s/2007/12/index.html, date accessed

• Digital and film cameras-

(Mark Comon, 2007, ‘Digital cameras and film Cameras’,, date
accessed 05/05/09)

Film catches light onto a silver emulsion film material, to which the silver tarnishes and developed to create a
negative. A digital camera contains an imaging chip which transfers the light into electronic energy which is
stored on a memory chip.

Film verses digital camera technology:

• “A film camera captures the image on a piece of celluloid film. The film is sensitive to light. The light strikes
the film, changes the chemistry of the film itself, and that's then saved. It's called a latent image. It's an image
that's there, but not seen yet. Then, you take that film into the dark room under total darkness and process it
with chemicals to bring out the image, and then preserve the film, so you have the picture. That's how film
works. You have the film which was developed, that's then taken to a machine where light is shined through
that negative or transparency, projected onto a piece of paper which is then, again, exposed to chemicals and
which then produces a print. You have a negative or transparency made in the camera that's then taken to a
machine; an enlarging machine, or a processing lab, and printed and made into a photograph.”

• “Film captures colour just like digital does. On film we have three different dye layers - sand, magenta, and
yellow, and as the light comes through the light strikes each layer. The light is captured by the layer
according to what light it is. So, when the film is developed it gives us a full range of exposure; a full range of
colour, because we have the sand, magenta, yellow. Just like in a digital camera, we have the digital chip,
which has the red, the green, and the blue, or RGB pixel. Works the same way, just a little different

• “Some people are still buying film cameras because of the look and feel of film. Look at the difference
between the motion pictures you go to that are shot on film versus shot on video. It's the same thing: film
versus digital. Film photography has a life. Film photography is a living, breathing thing. Film pictures have
more soul than digital ones. Film pictures have more depth; there's more light, there's more action going on
inside the image because film is a deeper, richer medium. You see much more shadow detail, much more
highlight detail in film than you ever will in digital. Digital is cool, digital is convenient, digital is hot, digital
makes beautiful big prints, but there's a look to film...”
History of the camera: birth of photography
(Mary Bellis, ‘History of photography’,, date accessed 05/05/09)

• Photography came from Greek ‘Photos’ meaning light and ‘Graphein’, meaning draw. This word was first
used in 1839 by Sir John F.W Herschel.
• Photography is defined as the ‘method of recording images by action of light, or related radiation on a
sensitive material’.
• First practical method of photography occurred in 1829, where Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce
combined thoughts and created a photograph using a silver plated copper sheet, which was covered in an
iodine solution. The plate was placed in a camera, and after a few minutes, light “painted” the image. The
plate was bathed in a solution of silver chloride created a long lasting image.
• This process was commercialised as a service under the company daguerreotype.

Figure 3 Daguerreotype photo

History of Photography: Photography development and
• Calotype- In 1841 Henry Fox Talbot created the first negative print. He sensitised paper with a silver salt
solution, exposed it to light, to which the background became black, and the object was rendered in different
shades of grey.

Figure 5 Tintypes

Figure 4 Calotype image

• Figure 6 Wet plate
used a thin sheet of iron negatives for a light sensitive base material,
which yielded a positive image. A layer of a specific emulsion is layered on the
sheet, which is exposed to the camera and the image is produced. It was a popular photographic choice in
being low cost and durable.

• Wet plate negatives- 1851, Frederick Scoff Archer added a viscous solution of collodion to glass with light
sensitive salts. In being glass, a more stable, detailed negative was created. However, the emulsion dried
quickly, so they had to be developed fast and a portable dark room was required.
• Dry plate negatives- This was invented in 1879 with a dried gelatine emulsion placed on a glass plate. Light
was absorbed so quickly, it made it possible for handheld camera’s it also enabled a longer storage time.

Figure 7 Dry plate negatives

• Flexible roll film- 1889, George Eastman invented a film

which was flexible, unbreakable and could be rolled. Emulsions being coated onto this
cellulose nitrate film, enabled mass production of box cameras a reality. However it is
highly flammable and decomposes after time.

Figure 8 Flexible roll film using cellulose nitrate film

• Colour photographs- 1940, this became commercialise, using the present day
technique of layering dye-coupled colours in which a chemical process fuses the three
layers into a single image.

Film Figure 9 Oldest coloured photo taken in 1872 (Alex-neatorama-, 2006, 'World’s first coloured
photo',, date
accessed 05/05/09)

development- Triacetate films replaced the previous up until 1970s, which was more
fireproof, stable and flexible. Today, a T-Grain film emulsion is used. The emulsion
contains T-shaped silver grains which render a finer gradient detail. This increases
resolution, detail and an all better sharper image.
• Photographic prints- originally printed on a linen rag paper, which was fairly stable once
coated with a gelatine emulsion, especially if the prints are sepia (brown) or selenium
(silver) toned. This material is prone to damage, loss of image, drying out and cracking,
and discolouration.
The next approach was that of using resin coatings, to increase water resistance. This
usually involves coating the paper in a plastic. However, the image tends to ride on the
plastic and is prone to fading.
Colour prints initial were not sustainable and literally faded away through pigment
deterioration. Kodachrome was the first developers of the colour ink that would have a
life time exceeding half a century. Modern techniques are enabling 200 year plus
lifespan and some are predicted permanent colour consistency.

Camera development:
• A camera is defined as “a lightproof object, with a lens, that captures incoming light and directs the light and
resulting image towards film (optical camera) or the imaging device (digital camera).”
• Box Cameras- George Eastman invented the first Kodak camera, 1888, available for $22, and it could take up
to 100 shots, before the films were sent back to the manufacturers, who developed them. A year later, the
delicate paper films were replaced by plastic films enabling self development. The camera involved a wooden
box with a lens and shutter with a factory filled film. The camera and film were mailed to the factory, and the
film developed with a new film inserted in the camera.

Figure 10 Eastman’s first commercial camera 1888. quote- “The reason product development has gone
wrong is that people stop at the worst time—when the solutions are most convoluted. What Eastman knew,
what Jobs knows, is that you have to go beyond; you have to think about the experience people are having”
(Peter Meholz, 1998,, date accessed 05/05/09)

• Flashbulbs powder- first modern flashbulb

was invented by Paul Vierkotter, who used a magnesium coated wire sealed inside a
glass globe, which was later replaced by aluminium foil in oxygen. September 23rd,
1930 saw the first commercial patent on these products.
• 35mm Cameras- In 1905, Oskar Barnack perceived the idea of reducing the negative
films and then enlarging them into photographs after exposure. An example of the
Leica cameras using this technology was the tourist multiple, which produced the
Figure 11 The Figure 12 Automatic 100 land camera, 1960
Tourist Multiple (2008, 'Polaroid Land Camera 100
35mm Camera, IMGP1932 WP.jpg',
(Max Bertacchi, aroid_Land_Camera_100_IMGP1932_WP.jpg,
2008 'Historical date accessed 05/05/09)
35mm film for 750 exposures.
date accessed

• Polaroid and instant cameras- Invented by Edwin Herbert Land, it was a revolutionary
idea to instant photography. In 1960, the automatic 100 land camera was invented and
became a popular bye for photographers.
Interestingly, this technology had one of the largest patent suits, top which in 1976,
Kodak was prosecuted in infringement of 7 valid Polaroid patents, consequently putting
them out of this market. They also had to reimburse the buyers of their Polaroid
cameras and compensate for no longer being able to serve customers with this
• Disposable cameras- The first of their kind were invented by Fuji in 1986. They are
preferred to be called single-use cameras, in that ‘disposable’ infringes current
ecological protection schemes.
Figure 13 Fuji’s first disposable camera 1986

Digital cameras:
(Mary Bellis, ‘History of photography’,, date
accessed 05/05/09)
(Michael Anissimov, ‘how does a digital camera work?’,
work.htm, date accessed 05/05/09)

• Canon developed the first digital electronic still image in 1984.

Figure 14 First digital camera 1984
(Technetz, 'World's first digital Camera
by Steven J.Sasson',
steven-j-sasson/, date accessed

• How they work- must modern digital cameras use a CCD, Charged-couple device which
replaces the film in a conventional camera. It is an electrical instrument which maps
out the image using pixels according the to electrical charge created by photons (light
particles) hitting them. The pictures have a resolution or certain pixel by pixel ration.
The large the pixel quantity, the greater detail and larger the image can blown up
before the pixels become too recognisable. The lens focuses the light onto the CCD,
and colour must be added using a Bayer mask, which filters light onto specific pixels
based on colour.
The advantages of this are that it has a light sensitivity of 35 times greater than film
and so can produce quicker images, which can also be directly transferred to file, stored
electronically and printed from any printer.