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30 Interesting Facts About Cameras and Photography

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woman holding pictures

Photography has been around for well over a century, and it has been an excellent way for people to express themselves and capture some of the best moments of their lives. There are plenty of fun details about photography that few people are aware of, so we wanted to share some exciting and interesting facts about cameras and photography.

Check out the list below to learn more!

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1.  The word photography has Greek origins, and it means “drawing with light”

Like many other activities, photography as a word has Greek roots. It’s a combination of the words phōtos (light) and graphé that means “represent by drawing lines” or simpler, “drawing with light.”

man taking pictures
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. A photojournalist from Mumbai, Dilish Parekh, has the largest camera collection in the world

Dilish Parekh, a photojournalist from Mumbai, owns 4425 cameras, which is the largest camera collection globally. He owns cameras made by Nikon, Canon, and Rolleiflex. He also possesses a camera that dates back to 1907, called the Royal Mail Postage stamp camera.

3. The first photograph of a person was accidental

Louis Daguerre made a photograph of a busy street in 1838, but little did he know that this would be the first photograph of a person. The photo missed the traffic, but it caught two men standing on the street.

4. Selfies were invented in 1839

Here’s a fun fact for all people who love to take selfies! Robert Cornelius, a chemist and photography lover, took the first selfie in 1839. He took the image by removing the cap on the lens and running to the frame where he sat before covering the lens again. He left a note behind the photo: “The first light picture ever taken 1839”.

5. Julius Berkowski took the first solar eclipse photograph in 1851

Julius Berkowski took the first solar eclipse photograph at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Prussia. In 1851, Julius attached a small telescope to a heliometer to capture a photo of a solar eclipse.

6.  Gaspard-Félix Tournachon took the first aerial photo in 1858

Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, also known as “Nadar,” took the first aerial photograph in 1858. He recorded the picture above Paris, but unfortunately, these photos no longer exist.

7. James Clerk Maxwell produced the first photograph in color in 1861

James Clerk Maxwell, a mathematical physicist, produced the first photograph in color in 1861. He took pictures through colorful filters and combined them into one color composition. This photo has marked James as the founder of the theory of additive color.

8. Steven Sasson invented the first digital camera in 1975

Steven Sasson is an electrical engineer that created the first digital camera in 1975 at Kodak. The camera took black-and-white photographs, and the photo was recorded on a cassette tape. The whole process took about 23 seconds.

9. The first digital camera weighed around 8 pounds, which is four times more than a modern DSLR

The camera invented by Steven Sasson weighed about 8 pounds, four times more than a modern DSLR. They commonly weigh about 2 pounds. Also, this camera had only a resolution of 100 x 100 pixels, meaning it had 0.1 megapixels!

10. Apple released the first consumer digital camera in 1994

Apple released the Apple QuickTake in 1994. It was the first consumer digital camera, and it was pretty expensive at the time, so it became more popular while it was on discount in 1997. Time magazine even put this camera on its list of the greatest and most influential gadgets from 1923 until the present.

11. The oldest photograph is almost 200 years old

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the oldest image that survived until today. He took the picture in 1839, so it’s almost 200 years old. The photograph’s name is “view from the window,” and the scene occurred in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France.

12. People in the 1800s had a habit of taking photographs with their deceased family members

Taking post-mortem portraits was very common in the 1800s, and many people took pictures of their deceased family members. People found this comforting, and it was a way to preserve memories with people who were no longer alive. Nowadays, this sounds creepy, but it was pretty standard for people back then!

man holding picture
Image Credit: Michal Jarmoluk, Pixabay

13. Eadweard Muybridge produced the first photo of motion, which set the stage for the first motion photographs

Eadweard Muybridge took the first photo of motion in 1878. Leland Stanford, a former governor of California, invited Eadweard to settle a debate on whether all horse’s hooves can be simultaneously off the ground while running.

14. Cat photography has been around for quite some time

Many people think cat photos have become a trend in recent years, but people have been photographing cats for ages. What’s said to be the oldest cat picture was taken somewhere between 1840 and 1860. Harry Pointer began the viral trend of cat photography in the 1870s.

15. The camera that took the first photos of the Moon is still there

The Hasselblad took the first photos of the Moon. Hasselblad and NASA worked together to create this camera and make it resistant to conditions on the Moon. The cameras first went into space with a group of astronauts on the Mercury 8 in 1962. Since there were weight limits when the astronauts returned home, the camera was left behind and remained on the Moon.

16. People rarely smile in old photos

You probably noticed old photographs and saw that everyone has serious faces, and nobody is smiling. There are various theories regarding why people weren’t smiling in pictures back then, but one of the main reasons is obvious. The cameras people used in the past needed a long exposure time to capture the photo. People weren’t able to smile for long periods, so taking a picture frequently involved the usage of a head brace to provide support!

old photo
Image Credit: David Krüger, Pixabay

17. The first projected image ever was through “camera obscura”

We mentioned that Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the first projected image in 1839. We forgot to mention is that the image Joseph took was projected through “camera obscura.” A camera obscura is a dark room with a lens or a tiny hole. The photo is projected onto a wall or a table through the hole.

18. Anatol Josepho created the first photo booth in 1925 in New York City

 A man called Anatol Josephewitz came to the USA from Russia in 1923 and changed his last name to Josepho. He was the creator of the first photo booth showcased on Broadway. The booth took eight photos, and it cost 25 cents while taking the images took about 10 minutes.

19. William Henry Fox Talbot created the first negative

William Henry Fox Talbot was a scientist who took the first negative in 1835. The photograph still exists today, and you can see it in the Science Media Museum in Bradford.

20. You can use coffee and baking soda to develop negatives

Many people don’t know this, but you can use coffee and baking soda to develop negatives. Coffee will give the negative the needed black-white tone, while baking soda adds alkalinity to the mixture. It’s an undemanding DIY project that would be fun to try out!

film roll
Image Credit: analogicus, Pixabay

21. People look more attractive in group pictures

A psychological scientist, Drew Walker, did a study on this topic, and he later published it in Psychological Science. Per the study, people look more attractive in group photos because each person’s flaws in the picture boost other people and make them look prettier.

22. The left side of our faces looks better in photos

A study from 2012 verifies that the left side of our faces looks better in photos. The left side of our cheeks tends to show more emotion, which is more aesthetically pleasing.

23. Charles Martin took the first underwater photo

Charles Martin took the first underwater photo in 1925. The photo was taken in the Bahamas, and they filled the camera with Lumiere, which was an auto-chrome additive color plate.

24. The first camera capable of recording an image was the daguerreotype

A famous french artist Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre created the daguerreotype in 1839.  It was announced to the public at a French Academy of Sciences meeting in Paris. Many artists were amazed by this discovery, and by 1850 there were multiple daguerreotype studios in NYC.

daguerreotype camera
Image Credit: J J Osuna Caballero, Shutterstock

25. The most popular photo on Instagram is a photo of an egg

Although this sounds bizarre, the most popular photo on Instagram is a photo of an egg. As of February of 2022, this picture had over 55.7 million likes and over 3.5 million comments.

26. The Windows XP background is the most viewed photograph in history

If you owned a computer a decade or so ago, you’re also on the list of people who saw this photo. Charles O’Rear made a photo called “Bliss,” the most viewed photograph in history. It was the standard background of the Windows XP operating system.

27. The most expensive photograph in the world was sold for $4.3 million

Yes, you read it right! The most expensive photo in the world was sold for $4.3 million. The creator of the picture is Andreas Gursky, and the photograph’s name is “Rhein II.”

28. 1903 Leica O-Series was the most expensive camera ever, sold for $2.8 million

The 1903 Leica O-Series sold for $2.8 million, making it the most expensive camera ever sold. It’s even in the Guinness Book of Records, and the man who bought it is a collector from Asia. The sale happened in Vienna, Austria, at the WestLicht Photographica Auction.

29. People take around 4.7 billion photos each day

It’s no wonder that people take around 4.7 billion photos each day when almost everyone has access to a smartphone. This results in about 1.72 trillion photos each year, and the numbers keep rising. Some research even states that by 2025 there will be over 2 trillion pictures taken each year.

30.  An American photographer, George K. Warren, began the yearbook trend

George K. Warren was an American photographer who lived in the Boston area. He was producing many images and persuaded college students to buy his pictures and share them. Later on, the students would bind the photos in a bookbinder, and that’s how the yearbook tradition began.

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Summing Up

Photography is a fantastic way to express yourself, and it has been around for centuries. As you can see, there are tons of fun facts about photography, so we hope our list has provided you with some interesting things to think about. If you’re a photography enthusiast, take as many pics as you can, and who knows, your name might end up on a list like this in a couple of years.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.