This is part 4 of 6. The first three are here:
In the 1720s the German professor Johann Heinrich Schulze (1687–1744) showed that certain silver salts, most notably silver chloride and silver nitrate, darken in the presence of light, not heat as some scholars had previously believed (the process had been known for some time, but not the cause). The Swedish pioneering chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742–1786) demonstrated in 1777 that the violet rays of the prismatic spectrum were most effective in decomposing silver chloride.
William Herschel discovered infrared radiation because thermometers, which had recently been developed in Europe, showed a higher temperature just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum of sunlight. The German chemist Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776–1810), after hearing about Herschel's discovery from 1800, identified another "invisible" radiation which we now know as ultraviolet (UV) in 1801. He experimented with silver chloride since blue light was known to cause a greater reaction to it than did red light, and he found that the area just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum showed the most intense reaction of all.
During the 1790s Thomas Wedgwood (1771-1805), an early experimenter together with the leading English chemist Humphry Davy (1778–1829) in photography, sun-printed "profiles" of objects onto paper and leather moistened with silver nitrate, but he could not "fix" these images. According to Davy's 1802 report, they were initially successful in producing a negative image (a white silhouette on a dark background), but unless the picture was kept in the dark, the image eventually vanished. There are those who claim that Wedgwood should be credited as the inventor of photography, but they currently constitute a minority.
The first universally accepted permanent images were recorded by the Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833) in the 1820s. I have found conflicting information in the literature as to exactly when Niépce recorded his first permanent image. Some say that his heliograph "Boy Leading His Horse" from 1825 is the world's oldest photography. In 1827 he successfully produced a camera obscura view of his courtyard in Paris on a bitumen-coated pewter plate, which took eight hours to complete. Photography was still hampered by very long exposure times. Only with later technical advances came the ability to expand the repertoire of views from architecture to cityscapes, street scenes, aerial photography etc. Niépce eventually teamed up with Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851), a successful Parisian theater designer and painter of the popular spectacle known as the diorama, the closest thing to a modern movie theater in those days. Together they tried to create easier ways to do photography. Scholar Eva Weber in Pioneers of Photography, page 6:
"After Niépce's death in 1833, Daguerre found a way to sensitize a silver-coated copper plate with iodine fumes and to produce a direct positive image without the use of Niépce's bitumen coating. A crucial success came in 1835 when he discovered the phenomenon of the latent image: the camera image does not appear during the exposure of the plate, but is revealed later only during the chemical development process. At the same time, he found a way to bring out this latent image by using mercury vapor, considerably shortening the required exposure time. The fixing process – making the image permanent – was the final hurdle Daguerre surmounted in 1837 by washing the exposed and developed plate with a solution of salt water. In March 1839 he changed the fixing solution to hyposulphite of soda, a method discovered in 1819 by English scientist Sir John Herschel (1792-1871)."
The astronomer and chemist Sir John Herschel, son of Sir William Herschel, coined the term "photography" and made contributions to its development. In 1839 in France, a crowded meeting of scientists and others observed Daguerre's demonstration of the daguerreotype process, the first form of photography to enjoy some commercial success. However, Daguerre was not the only person working with the possibilities of photography, which clearly was an invention whose time had come. Weber again, page 9:
"In 1834, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), an English country gentleman scholar and scientist, began trying to fix a camera obscura image on paper. By 1835 he was making exquisite 'photogenic drawings,' as he called them, or contact prints, by placing botanical specimens and pieces of lace on sheets of good quality writing paper sensitized with silver chloride and silver nitrate, exposing them to sunlight, and then fixing them with a rinse of hot salt water. (Like Daguerre, he also changed his fixative to hyposulphite of soda in 1839 on Herschel's recommendation). He also made a small negative image of his home, Lacock Abbey, on sensitized paper in 1835. Temporarily losing interest in photography he turned his attention to other studies. When news of Daguerre's discovery reached him, he went back to experimenting, independently discovering the latent image and its development in 1840, as well as the process of making multiple positive paper prints from a single paper negative. He worked hard to perfect his paper process and patented it in February 1841 as the calotype (from the Greek, meaning beautiful image), also known as the talbotype."
Talbot became the inventor of the negative/positive photographic process, the precursor to most photographic processes used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He had independently devised photogenic drawing paper by 1835. In 1839 Talbot noted the greater sensitivity of silver bromide – later the chief constituent of all modern photographic materials – made possible by the isolation of the chemical element bromine by the French chemist Antoine Jerome Balard (1802-1876) and the German chemist Carl Jacob Löwig (1803–1890) independently of each other in 1825-26. Talbot made another discovery in 1840, that an invisibly weak dormant picture in silver iodide could be brought out by gallic acid, thus increasing the speed of his camera photography greatly, from hours to minutes. From now on, a quest was mounted for shorter camera exposures and higher resolution.
The daguerreotype was much more popular than the calotype in the early years, but Talbot, in contrast to Daguerre, remained active and continued to experiment. His most significant discovery, the reproducible negative, came to be applied universally only with the development of the wet-plate collodion process in 1851. There were other early pioneers, too. Eva Weber, page 10:
"In 1833 Antoine Hercules Florence, a French artist in Brazil, started to experiment with producing direct positive paper prints of drawings. Most importantly, Hippolyte Bayard (1801-1887), a French civil servant in the Ministry of Finance, began experimenting in 1837 and by 1839 had created a method for making direct positive prints on paper. Official support for the daguerreotype overshadowed Bayard's achievement. Discouraged but persistent, he went on to work with the calotype and other photographic processes. As a photographer he produced a large body of high quality work, covering a wide range of subject matter from still lifes, portraits, cityscapes, and architectural views to a record of the barricades of the 1848 revolution. Other pioneers include Joseph Bancroft Reade, and English clergyman, and Hans Thøger Winther, a Norwegian publisher and attorney."
Further technical improvements were made by the French artist Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) and the English sculptor Frederick Scott Archer (1813-1857), among others. Weber, page 14:
"Throughout the nineteenth century, each refinement of the photographic process led to a new flourishing of talented photographers, sometimes in a single region or nation, and at other times globally. It is generally agreed that during the daguerreotype era an exceptionally fine body of work came from the United States. In March 1839 Daguerre personally demonstrated his process to inventor and painter Samuel Morse (1791-1872) who enthusiastically returned to New York to open a studio with John Draper (1811-1882), a British-born professor and doctor. Draper took the first photograph of the moon in March 1840 (a feat to be repeated by Boston's John Adams Whipple in 1852), as well as the earliest surviving portrait, of his sister Dorothy Catherine Draper. Morse taught the daguerreotype process to Edward Anthony, Albert Southworth and possibly Mathew Brady, all of whom became leading daguerreotypists."
A daguerreotype by George Barnard (1819-1902) of the 1853 fire at the Ames Mill in New York is the earliest known work of photojournalism. Mathew Brady (1823-1896) became one of the most important photographers during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The English photographer Roger Fenton's (1819-1869) views of the Crimean War (1853–1856) battlefields are widely regarded as the first systematic photographic war coverage. Much impressive work of elegant landscapes and street scenes, portraiture etc. still came from France. In 1858 the French journalist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1820–1910), known as Nadar, made the first aerial photographs of the village of Petit-Becetre taken from a hot-air balloon, 80 meters above the ground. The oldest aerial photograph still in existence is James Wallace Black's (1825-1896) image of Boston from a hot-air balloon in 1860.
This was also an age of travel photography, facilitated by steamships, railways and cheaper transport, with French photographers taking pictures in Mexico, Central America and Indochina, British in the Middle East, India, China, Japan, etc. For Easterners in the USA, Western views from the frontier were popular and exotic. Edward S. Curtis (1868–1952) recorded the lives of the Native Americans. Photographs of the remarkable Yellowstone area influenced the authorities to preserve it as the country's first national park in 1872.
The American George Eastman (1854–1932) pioneered the use of celluloid-base roll film, which greatly sped up the process of recording multiple images and opened up photography to amateurs on a wide scale since cameras were no longer so large, heavy and complicated. He registered the trademark Kodak in 1888. Glass plates remained in use among astronomers and others scientists into the second half of the twentieth century due to their superiority for research-quality imaging. Pluto was for instance discovered in 1930 with photographic plates.
There were numerous experiments with moving pictures or "movies" in Europe and in North America, with the French inventor Louis Le Prince (1842-1890) being one of the pioneers, but the brothers Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis Lumière (1864-1948) are usually credited with the birth of cinema with their public screening with admission charge in Paris in December 1895.
The brilliant American Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931), one of the most prolific inventors in history, played a key role as well. Through his years of working as a telegraph operator he had learned much about electricity, and developed new techniques for recording sounds. However, "records," as in the analog sound storage medium we know as gramophone or vinyl records, which remained the most common storage medium for music until Compact Discs (CDs) and the digital revolution in the 1980s and 90s, were patented by the German-born American inventor Emile Berliner (1851–1929) in 1896. James E. McClellan and Harold Dorn in Science and Technology in World History, second edition, page 354:
"In 1895, with their Cinématographe…Auguste and Louis Lumière first successfully brought together the requisite camera and projection technologies for mass viewing, and so launched the motion-picture era. With paying customers watching in theaters – sometimes stupefied at the illusion of trains surely about to hurtle off the screen and into the room – movies immediately became a highly successful popular entertainment and industry. Not to be outdone, the Edison Manufacturing Company quickly adopted the new technology and produced 371 films, including The Great Train Robbery (1903), until the company ceased production in 1918. Sound movies - the talkies – arrived in 1927 with Al Jolson starring in The Jazz Singer; by that time Hollywood was already the center of a vigorous film industry with its 'stars' and an associated publicity industry supplying newsstands everywhere with movie magazines. The use of color in movies is virtually as old as cinema itself, but with technical improvements made by the Kodak Company in the film, truly vibrant color movies made it to the screen in the 1930s in such famous examples as The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939). (Color did not become an industry standard, however, until the 1960s.)"
Photography in natural colors was first achieved by the Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) as early as in 1861, but the autochrome process of the brothers Lumière from 1907 was the first moderate commercial success. The Russian photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944) developed some early techniques for taking color photographs and documented the Russian Empire between 1909 and 1915. Color photography progressed with research in synthetic organic chemistry of dyestuffs and the Eastman Kodak Company produced Kodachrome in 1935, yet it did not become cheap and accessible enough to become the standard until the second half of the twentieth century. Black and white photography remains in use to this day for certain artistic purposes, for instance portraits.
While photography was of great use in arts and entertainment, it became an invaluable tool in numerous scientific disciplines, from medicine via geology and botany to archaeology and astronomy, since it can detect and record things that the human eye cannot see. The Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach (1838–1916) used it for his investigations in the field of supersonic velocity, and from the 1870s developed photographic techniques for the measurement of shock waves. The Englishman Eadweard J. Muybridge (1830–1904) and the Frenchman Étienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904) invented new ways of recording movement.
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, traditional photography was gradually replaced by digital techniques. Asian and especially Japanese companies such as Sony played a major role in the digitalization of music, movies and photography, in addition to Western ones. However, with the creation of photography in early nineteenth century, advances in chemistry were crucial.
Chemistry developed out of medieval alchemy. In India, alchemy was used in serious metallurgy, medicine, leather tanning, cosmetics, dyes etc. The work of Chinese alchemists facilitated inventions such as gunpowder, which was to revolutionize warfare throughout the world. Although their views differed considerably in the details, scholars in Japan, China, Korea, India, the Middle East and Europe as late as the year 1750 would have agreed that "water" is an element, not a compound of hydrogen and oxygen as we know today. Likewise, the fact that "air" consists of a mixture of several substances was only fully grasped in the second half of the eighteenth century. The easiest way to date when chemistry was born, as distinct from alchemy, is when scholars started talking about "oxygen" instead of "water" as an element. This transition happened in Europe in the late eighteenth century, and only there.