Recent Historical Articles

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.

The Pioneering Photography of Harold 'Doc' Edgerton

With all of our fussing over codecs and bitrates, and demanding 4K 120 fps at every latest camera release, it can be good practice to look back at where some of this technology started in order to get a bit of perspective. This beautifully edited video illustrates perfectly how the likes of Canon and Sony are most certainly standing on the shoulders of giants.

What Is Photographic Truth?

Photography struggles with truth as a concept. With other art forms, truth is generally a non-issue. We do not question whether a painting is real. We do not question whether a dance is real. We are generally able to discern fictional texts from nonfiction; furthermore, we’re generally able to sift through multiple nonfiction texts and combine them with our own experiences to arrive at a conclusion of truth. But not with photography.

Is the Digital Image as Special as the Film Image?

In Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, “A Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” he argues that the reproduction of an art object diminishes its "aura," or unique position in time and space. What this means is that if you make something with your hands, you only have a singular of that thing, so that makes it something special. It is "one of a kind."

A Full Team on the Sierras: Images From 1866

Is a photo everything it seems and what does it say about why and how it was taken? This image from publishers Lawrence and Houseworth shows a full team on the Sierras, but what is it telling us?

A History of Bokeh and How It Has Changed Photography

The spelling of “bokeh” to describe out-of-focus areas wasn’t used in relation to photography until as recently as 1997, so how has it come to dominate discussions about the qualities of a lens to the point that manufacturers have to mention it with every new release? This in-depth video explores the use of bokeh over the centuries from 16th-century oil paintings to today’s digital cameras.

This Photographer Shoots Portraits on a Hundred-Year-Old Camera in Afghanistan

Shooting a hundred-year-old camera that is also a darkroom is unusual but this fascinating story becomes more remarkable when you consider that the photographer earned a living for decades creating portraits in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. 65 years later, he’s still taking photographs.

How To Make Your Own Daguerrotype Using a 35mm Film Camera

The daguerrotype was one of the earliest means of capturing images onto a surface and was the first photographic process available to the public. Using a piece of silver-coated copper and a 35mm film camera, this videos shows you how to make your own.

The Incredible True Story of How and Why Kodak Aerochrome Was Created

Many of you will have seen images taken with the famous Kodak Aerochrome film, or more likely in today's photography, you will have seen a digital homage to its created aesthetic. But how did this film come to be, and why was it originally used?