The History Of B&W Photography

The History Of B&W Photography
By BobSt.Cyr

The history of black & white photography is essentially a significant part of the entire story of photography. It is the story of a relatively “new” technology that began a little over 170 years ago in Europe. However, the actual process of a projected image appearing inside a light-tight box (camera obscura), has existed much longer. The problem being that there was no means to fix the image for any length of time, until two Frenchmen collaborated in their efforts and succeeding in fixing the image so that it could be viewed by others.

The photographic process became public in Europe in 1839 when M. Daguerre and the French Government reached an agreement to announce the new fascinating process as reported in the Gazette de France. “M. Daguerre has found the way to fix the images which paint themselves within a camera obscura, so that these images are no longer transient reflections of objects, but their fixed and everlasting impress which, like a painting or engraving, can be taken away from the presence of the objects.”

Daguerre called his finished product the Daguerreotype, while the term “photography” was suggested by astronomer and scientist Sir John Herschel to represent the newly discovered process. Over in England William Henry Fox Talbot came up with a similar process ushering in a new form of communication onto the world scene.

Read the full article on Lens Magazine #15 The Big Black&White Issue

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