Recent Historical Articles

5 Reasons This Weird Camera Is Fantastic

Digital cameras have been around for just a moment compared to the long history of film photography, and that means within those many decades are some truly interesting and unique cameras. One of the weirdest and most beloved among those is the Rollei 35, and this great video takes a look at five reasons why it was such a fun and interesting camera.

Look Inside a 150-Year-Old Camera

It's very easy to find information online about new cameras, news, rumors, reviews, and which camera you should be using right now. But there's far less information to be found about older cameras. Like many photographers, I find it interesting to look at the origins of photography and how far the science and technology in cameras has come in a relatively short period of time.

Minolta Maxxum 9 Retrospective: A Great Camera That Arrived Too Late

When I was working in the photo industry in the late 90s and early 00s, Nikon was king. Canon was already a close second or even considered the leading brand, depending on which photographer one spoke with. Both companies offered a robust selection of lenses, advanced camera bodies, and excellent autofocus systems. And then there were the outlier brands, like Minolta, Olympus, and Pentax, all who made some wonderful cameras, but were not nearly as popular as tools for professionals. Minolta was, perhaps, one of the most adventurous camera makers.

A Bit of History About the Golden Ratio and Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is the first thing that is taught about composition in photography. It seems to have some similarities with the golden ratio, but in reality, it’s something completely different. Let’s have a closer look at the history of these so-called rules to get a better understanding.

Ringo Starr: The Beatles Drummer Turned Photographer

Many of us know Ringo Starr as the drummer from the Beatles, but did you know he is an accomplished photographer too? I think you may be pleasantly surprised to see what happened when he swapped his drumsticks for a camera.

This Camera Lets You Take Double the Number of Pictures

The beauty of digital photography is that once you have paid for the camera and storage, you can take as many images as you want at essentially no additional cost. Of course, on the other hand, when it comes to film photography, every press of the shutter incurs an additional cost. So, a film camera that promises to double the number of images you can take with every roll sounds quite intriguing. This neat video will show you one such camera.

This 1961 Camera Was Ahead of Its Time

Olympus is well known for placing innovative and clever technology in their cameras, but that reputation goes back further than you might think. This neat video takes a look at a camera that is six decades old but features a fascinating automatic exposure system that allows it to function without any batteries needed.

A Look at the Clever Automation of Film Cameras

We take a lot for granted in the digital era, particularly the automation of a lot of functions. In the early days of film, everything was fully manual, and even one parameter set incorrectly could ruin an entire roll. Later in the 20th century, a standard called DX (Digital indeX) was introduced, and it automated a lot of settings, reducing errors and making photography more accessible to amateurs and casual users. How did it work? This neat video takes you behind the scenes of the surprisingly sophisticated system.

The Photographer And Story Behind The 1990 TMNT Movie Poster

Have you ever wondered about the photographers and process behind iconic movie posters? Some of Azriel Knight's most vivid nostalgic memories are over the striking movie poster for the blockbuster film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

10 of the Weirdest Digital Cameras Ever Made

The form of the digital cameras has become relatively standardized. There are certainly variations from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the basic design is generally stable across companies. That was not always the case, however, particularly in the early days of digital. This neat video takes a look at 10 of the weirdest digital cameras ever made and just what made them so unique.

What Will Surprise the Next Generation About Photography Today

Technology moves quickly, and it only takes a few generations for there to feel like a profound divide between age groups. What do you think the next generation will not know about the photography of today or will be surprised by?

100 Years of Men in Love: An Accidental Collection

Photos are, at their essence, about acting as a witness to a feeling or emotion. Neal Treadwell and Hugh Nini's accidental collection, 100 Years of Men in Love, is a witness to love and hope. Showing on HereTV, David Millbern's documentary about Nini and Treadwell's collection is well worth the 60 minute investment.

Finding Shackleton's Endurance, Can Hurley's Images Be Far Behind?

Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship, Endurance, which was crushed by ice and sank in 1915, has just been found. How is this photography related? Somewhere on board the ship is a treasure trove of Frank Hurley images documenting one of the last expeditions of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Did Sony Kill the DSLR?

Back in 2006, Sony bought out camera manufacturer Minolta, triggering a sequence of events that has all but brought about the demise of the beloved DSLR.

Shooting With a 1998 Original Gameboy Camera

The Gameboy Color from the late Nineties had a camera module you could buy separately. I owned one of them and I remember enjoying it, particularly paired with the Gameboy printer. But, just how bad was the quality back then?

Is It Colder in Color?

Non-photographers often complain about black and white images: they’re dated, they’re just a gimmick, or they’re elitist and boring. These are personal preferences; however, we live in a color world, so you can't discount that black and white images can create a disconnect for modern viewers. To bring history alive, is colorization a solution?

The 120-Year-Old Argument Against Gear

Alfred Stieglitz’s influence on photography is incomparable. Hailed as the "father of pictorialism," he not only helped define the movement but helped forward photography’s place in a broader art context.

Is This Historic Photo Massively Underrated?

In 1839, Louis Daguerre captured his seminal image: Boulevard du Temple, a 5 x 6 inch plate shot from his studio window. It is famed for being the first image to feature the human form, but should it also be regarded as a masterpiece of photographic composition?

Where Did the Dutch Angle Come From?

Few camera shots are more readily recognizable than the Dutch angle (sometimes known as the Dutch tilt or canted angle), with its jarring tilt capturing the viewer's attention instantly. Where did this strange shot come from, and why do filmmakers use it? This interesting video takes a look at the history of the Dutch angle and its usage in cinema.

How Were Photos Made Long Ago?

The process of creating an image has changed quite a bit over the past two centuries on the journey to what we know now. If you are a history geek or just want to learn more about how things came to be what they are today, check out this fantastic video that will take you on a journey through various photographic processes, from the very earliest through to 20th-century techniques and methods.

How Photography and Architecture Are Intertwined

Architectural photography is an art form that is intrinsically dependent on the mind of another creator. Without architecture, there would be no architectural photography. Normally, one wouldn't imagine this to be a two-way street, but this insightful video posits a different view.

A Look at One of the Coolest Cameras of Yesteryear

One of the neatest things about early digital photography was that because few things were really standardized, there were numerous interesting designs and experiments with features. Sony's Mavica line was one such example of this, and this awesome video takes a look at the camera 24 years after its release.

Genius, Madness, and Obsession: How the Instant Camera Was Invented

You could be forgiven for believing that the requirement for instant gratification is a rather new affliction. However, it's more likely that swift results were gated behind technology and that the few inventions that provided it were well placed for unprecedented success, like the instant camera.

A Brief History of Photography

As camera technology continues to advance at stomach-churning speed, it might be wise to remind ourselves of just how far we've come, as it's so easy to get caught up in the never-ending lust for the next shiny new toy. Sometimes, our focus on processors and edge-to-edge sharpness make us forget about the art, the craft, and the photographers that came before us, so sit back and enjoy this short hop through the history of photography.

Just How Far Have Sony Cameras Come?

Sony cameras are well known for standing at the forefront of technological innovation, offering top-notch image quality and class-leading features. What were their cameras like when they first started, though? This fun video review takes a look at the company's first digital camera, the DSC-F1, and what it is like 25 years later.

10 Cameras That Changed Filmmaking Forever

The sheer number of new cameras in the last few decades is staggering, but even so, there are still standout performers that either set the pace or changed the game completely. This video will go through the top 10 and why they had such a profound impact on the industry.

Why So Many People Think This Famous Photo Is Fake

Perhaps no historical event is rifer with conspiracy theories than the assassination of President John Kennedy. One of the key pieces of evidence conspiracy theorists point to is a seemingly strange photo of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald that, if real, is tremendously incriminating. This fascinating video takes a look at the photo and why so many people think it is fake and provides a modern analysis of its authenticity.

An Interview With Richard Drew, Photographer of 'Falling Man'

We are approaching the 20th anniversary of September 11th. One of the most iconic images to emerge from that terrible day was Richard Drew's "Falling Man," which captured a man who had either jumped or fallen from the North Tower as the intense fires pushed those trapped in the upper floors to make a desperate decision. This interview speaks with Richard Drew, the photographer who captured the image.

If Cartier-Bresson Were Shooting Today, Would He Use 6K Burst Mode?

Henri Cartier-Bresson is hailed in the pantheon of photographers as one of the leading lights of his time. He is also inextricably linked with Leica. If he were shooting today, what brand would he choose and how would he shoot? It would of course be Panasonic and 6K Burst Mode.

How Polaroid Made Billions, Lost Billions, and Has Risen Again From the Ashes

The story of Polaroid offers a fascinating insight into the evolution of camera technology. Once a titan of the photographic industry, Polaroid failure to innovate and anticipate the shift to digital led to its bankruptcy, but a return to analog processes has breathed new life into this former giant.

What Is This Famous Camera Like 20 Years Later?

The original Canon 1D came out almost 20 years ago, in November of 2001, and it represented the company's arrival on the professional digital camera market. Since then, the 1D series has become well known for its high-level capabilities and almost unbreakable build, becoming a favorite of countless pros around the world. What was the original model like, though? This neat video takes a look at the shooting experience and image quality. Spoiler alert: the colors are beautiful.

The Unique Lens That Had Autofocus Over 40 Years Ago

Canon introduced the EF mount in 1987, and it brought with it a number of innovations while ushering in the autofocus era for the company. Before that, though, was the FD mount, and while it had almost exclusively manual focus lenses, one special lens, the FD 35-70mm f/4 AF, actually had a very strange and unique autofocus system, and this neat video shows what it was like to shoot with.

Restoring and Photographing With a Large Format Bokeh Monster

Look at any photography discussion board or Facebook page, and you’ll quickly run into members obsessed with bokeh, or the quality of out-of-focus elements in a photograph. If you are in the bokeh-obsessed stage of photography, then large format wet plate photography is absolutely for you.

Is Ansel Adams Still Relevant?

No landscape photographer is as iconic to the genre as Ansel Adams. But can someone who worked primarily in black and white and whose heyday was over half a century ago still teach us anything today?

Protests Are Iconic, So Why Do We Want a Riot?

If there is one type of news story that is a recurring theme in journalism it is the protest. Think "Tank Man", "The Burning Monk", or "Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge" (with Ieshia Evans). They stick in the memory, their iconographic status forming a peg from which we hang related memories. So why then are we more interested in riots as opposed to protests?

Is This the Oldest Photo of a US President?

It is a truism that the rich and famous are early adopters of the latest technology. Given that photography was unleashed on the world in 1839, what is the earliest surviving photo of a US President?

The A Mount: Sony's Future That Never Was

Sony's not a camera company or at least hasn't been until relatively recently. Its heritage is as un-optical as any recent manufacturer can be and is certainly far removed from the heritage of the likes of Nikon, Canon, Leica, and Pentax. Yet, among the gravestones we see littering the photographic landscape, it seems likely that the A mount will soon join them, finally severing any link to the past. So, why wasn't the A mount Sony's future?

Who Was the First Global Social Media Travel Infuencer?

You take photos, you write books, you're published in weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines, and travel the world with the sole purpose of... traveling. You sound like one of the early social media influencers of the 2010s who was "living the dream," constantly on the road, distributing a drip of photos and articles to the travel-enthused general public. However, it's 1888, and your name is Frank Carpenter.

The Best Photo Vivian Maier Never Took

We'd all love to be mentioned in the same breath as our favorite photographer. Especially if that photographer is a highly celebrated master of their genre. But what happens when your image is mistaken for, and credited to them, instead of you?

The Blueprint: How to Create Cyanotypes

Cyanotypes are a type of printmaking process invented in the 1800s by Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet KH FRS. What a name!

How Did Flight of the Navigator Create Its Amazing Visual Effects?

Released in 1986, children’s sci-fi adventure classic "Flight of the Navigator" was one of the first movies to use computer-generated effects, but many of the practical visual effects used are equally mind-blowing. Check out this in-depth insight into how the production team created a movie that still looks good 35 years later.