March 16, 2023

From Camera Obscura to Instagram: A Brief History of Photography

By Morkven

Photography has come a long way since its birth in the early 19th century. From the earliest Camera Obscura to the modern-day Instagram, this art form has evolved into an indispensable part of our lives. In this article, we will take a brief look at the history of photography, from its humble beginnings to its current dominance in the digital age.

Before Photography: Camera Obscura

The history of photography began long before the invention of the camera. In fact, the basic principle of photography is based on the scientific phenomenon known as Camera Obscura, which was discovered in ancient Greece. It refers to a dark chamber or box with a small hole that allows light to enter, creating a projected image of the outside world on the opposite wall of the box. This concept was used by artists and scientists to study the properties of light and to create detailed and accurate images of the world around them.

The First Photograph: Niepce & Daguerre

In the early 1800s, French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce developed the first true photographic process, called heliography. It required several hours of exposure time and produced a negative image on a polished metal plate. Later, in 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, another Frenchman, refined this process into the daguerreotype, which involved significantly shorter exposure times and produced a positive image on a silver-plated copper sheet. This revolutionary process was the first practical method of photography and quickly gained popularity across Europe and the United States.

The Birth of Film: Eastman

In 1888, George Eastman, an American entrepreneur and inventor, introduced his revolutionary innovation: the Kodak camera. It was an affordable, handheld camera that came loaded with a roll of film, which could capture multiple images without the need to change plates or film. Eastman’s invention was a game-changer in the world of photography, as it made this art form accessible to the masses.

The Rise of Color Photography

Color photography has a long and complex history. It was first attempted in the early 1800s but was not perfected until much later due to technical and financial challenges. For many years, only black and white images were widely used, but in the mid-20th century, color photography began to gain popularity. The first commercial color film was introduced by Kodak in 1935, and by the 1960s, color photography had become the norm.

The Digital Revolution: From Pixels to Instagram

The digital revolution changed the world of photography forever. In the 1980s, digital cameras were first developed, and in the 1990s, they became commercially available. The benefits of digital photography were numerous: images could be instantly viewed, edited, and shared online. The rise of smartphones and social media platforms like Instagram has made it easier than ever before for people to capture and share their photos with a global audience.


Photography has come a long way since its early beginnings as Camera Obscura. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated inventors and innovators, it has evolved into one of the most popular and widespread forms of art and communication. From the first daguerreotypes to modern-day Instagram, photography has been transformed by technology, but the basic principles remain the same: capturing and sharing images that express emotions, ideas, and the beauty of the world we live in.