Questions tagged [history]

Questions about the history of photography, including why things are the way they are today.

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4answers
78 views

Was non-panchromatic film in common use long after the invention of panchromatic?

In movies and TV one sometimes [1] sees film being developed under a red safe-light, which of course cannot be done with panchromatic film. Is this portraying a common practice of journalists and ...
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1answer
73 views

Why did early photographs need such long exposure times?

I recently read on Wikipedia (can also be found on other sources) that the first photographs/cameras needed exposure times of several images, sometimes up to hours. e.g. The caption for this image: ...
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1answer
284 views

What technique did Scott Mutter use in his famous photomontage “Untitled (Library)”, and what meaning does that approach help convey?

I really like this photo by Scott Mutter so I was want to know about the techniques used.
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1answer
211 views

What kind of photograph would a woman born in the late 19th century describe as devloped in the sun in glass frames?

The following is from an oral history of a woman born in 1888. She is speaking of a travelling photographer coming through town when she was a child. She says, "If it was a good day you got your ...
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0answers
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What camera did Cindy Sherman shoot with?

I'm studying photographers and am curious to know what camera CS used for her work. I'm sure the latest is on digital but wanted to know what she started out with.
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3answers
411 views

Would a professional photographer in 1920s Europe have access to an enlarger?

I'm doing research for a novel and I have a question about the equipment and techniques that would have been available to a professional photographer in the early 1920s in Europe. In order to create ...
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5answers
3k views

What are the benefits of the classic f-number scheme?

Classic ƒ numbers are entrance pupil diameter as a fraction of focal length. This seems like a slightly strange choice as exposure is proportional to area rather than diameter. Naively I would think ...
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3answers
332 views

How accessible is gas hypersensitisation today?

Gas hypersensitisation, as you may know, is a method which was regularly used by astrophotographers. It included baking or soaking a film in a gas mixture, with this gas oftentimes being nitrogen. ...
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1answer
284 views

Was post-exposure perspective correction ever practiced in the darkroom?

It seems like it should have been possible to achieve by adding tilt and shift movements to the enlarger lens, projecting a keystoned image of the film on the printing paper and cropping accordingly, ...
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9answers
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Why did they ever make smaller than full-frame sensors?

You will occasionally encounter articles about how awesome full-frame cameras are. Lot of that is probably over-enthusiasm over a new piece of equipment or simple marketing, but it seems to me that at ...
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3answers
5k views

Is space radiation a risk for space film photography, and how is this prevented?

After seeing this question about a 135 camera being used during a space walk, I was wondering the following: It is generally known that astronauts are exposed to increased radiation, also called ...
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2answers
435 views

Why aren't tripod mounts metric?

Almost everything about cameras, lenses, sensor and film sizes are specified in metric units. So why are common tripod mounts (e.g., 1/4"-20) not metric? I'm just curious if there's an interesting ...
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5answers
5k views

How was film developed in the late 1920s?

I am doing research for a story I am writing. If an investigator in the late 1920s privately needed to glimpse an image that was taken on a camera, perhaps a 35mm Leica or a Naegel, would it be ...
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86 views

What type of B&W film did Saul Leiter use?

As shown in Saul's monographs Early Black and White or In My Room. What kind of BW negative rolls did he use?
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1answer
161 views

Who were the Bauhaus photographers and what was their impact on commercial and artistic photography today?

The Bauhaus was a German art, craft, and design school which operated between the World Wars. I was recently at an exhibit of works — mostly paintings, architectural drawings, and sculpture — which ...
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2answers
332 views

What was Bob Parent's “Signature Technique,” and how is it visible in this (linked) photo?

The New York Times recently ran an article called Is This the Greatest Photo in Jazz History? (paywall (sorry), and a mildly-NSFW mural painting visible in the photo) about a famous photo, taken by ...
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1answer
140 views

Is there any way to produce animation from the history steps in Lightroom?

I need a way to produce an animated GIF of what I did while developing/editing a certain photo in Lightroom. In another word, if there is any tool/workflow/plugin that record every step in my photo ...
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3answers
9k views

Why is “The Steerage” hailed “one of the greatest photographs of all time”?

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Steerage: The Steerage is a photograph taken by Alfred Stieglitz in 1907. It has been hailed as one of the greatest photographs of all time because it ...
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3answers
128 views

(How) were FoVs discussed before the 35mm became de-facto standard?

Ever since the 35mm small frame gained popularity in the mid-1900s it's well known (and perhaps lamented) the particular crop factor became a de-facto standard by late 1900s when people discussed ...
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1answer
1k views

What was the “revolutionary” digital camera with infinite depth of field and focus adjustment in post-processing?

A few years ago (at least 10 years I believe), I read in a magazine about a "revolutionary" camera which was able to take pictures such that from one picture you could, afterwards, choose the point ...
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0answers
47 views

Were there ways to deal with distortion in the darkroom ages? [duplicate]

When people used early ultrawide angle lenses that had visible distortion, did they simply accept the fact and print it too ... or were there mitigations for things like critical architecture ...
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1answer
176 views

1960s-1990s third party lenses - why was the “lowest tier” cheaper to make?

From a retrospective, it seems that there were a couple of mid-tier makers/importers like Vivitar, Sigma, Tamron, Soligor ... and that there was a plethora of small brands (for example, one brand ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the dented wheel with holes inside the Polaroid Land Camera Model 150

While looking at the works of John Peralta, I noticed a strange camera component I never saw before inside the Polaroid Land Camera Model 150. I've repaired a few cameras in my life but I'm very ...
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3answers
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What was the Group f.64, and why were they important?

I've heard of the "Group f.64", and know that famous photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston were members. What was this group and why was it significant? What about members of the group other ...
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1answer
426 views

What is the crank on the side of this lens used by David Douglas Duncan?

The NPR article David Douglas Duncan, Photographer Of Wars And Picasso, Dies At 102 notes the passing of the famous photographer and shows some beautiful photos of the artist Picasso. One photo shows ...
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1answer
144 views

Which photographer created “planet” named photos of chicken entrails?

I'm trying to remember the name of a well known photographer who photographed, among other things, chicken guts and sphincter laid out on the sidewalk. His collected photos were in an Aperture ...
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1answer
470 views

How did the calotype process produce a translucent negative image?

I'm studying calotypes and cyanotypes. Their major contribution to the development of photography was the fact that they could be easily copied. The original negative could be used to create as ...
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2answers
541 views

How can daguerreotypes be both negative and positive?

While studying the history of photography, I became interested in this property of daguerreotype. As stated by Wikipedia: "The image is on a mirror-like silver surface, normally kept under glass, ...
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2answers
188 views

Did the quality of early digital cameras vary by the type of manufacturer?

I heard that about twenty years ago, it was possible to distinguish the quality of digital cameras based on the type of manufacturer. Manufacturers of photographic cameras also made good digital ...
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6answers
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Why were disposable flashes prominent for so long?

While reading this answer (and going down memory lane) flashcubes were mentioned. That got me thinking: Why were these disposable flashes so common? And why did it take so long for electronic flashes ...
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5answers
7k views

What is the rationale for having less than 36 frames in a single 35mm film roll?

36 frames per roll have long been the agreed upon standard. It allows to fit the maximum amount of frames in a canister and still have some slack for safely loading the film, because one's loading ...
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1answer
135 views

One photograph or two?

There are two prints of the same subject (Lorina Liddell by Lewis Carroll), but I'm not sure if I'm seeing two different prints of the very same negative or they are two similar, but distinct shots of ...
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1answer
1k views

What do the numbers in film formats reference?

So, there is a whole list of film formats that are referred to by numbers, and sometimes later were just called the film size. 135 is commonly referred to as 35mm/"full frame" and 120 as medium format,...
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2answers
182 views

What kind of camera and developing/printing process may Charles Jones have used?

Charles Jones was a gardener and photographer who lived from 1866-1959. His photographs of garden produce and flowers were found at an auction in 1981 and have since been acclaimed long after his ...
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2answers
726 views

Why do the people in this old photo look so… photoshopped?

I came across this picture today and think it's pretty cool: we don't have logjams like that any more. But the people in the photo look... odd. If it were a newer photo, I'd say they're photoshopped. ...
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5answers
6k views

How was photo data processed and transferred back to Earth from satellites before digital photography became commonplace?

I am looking at pictures taken by some of the first satellites and landers there were like the Viking Lander on Mars in ~1976 or even the first image of the backside of the Moon in 1959 by Luna 3 I ...
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1answer
202 views

How did wedding photographers work in the olden days?

I am very curious to know how international photographers in the olden says such as the 70's or 80's or older, work. How did they deliver albums or photographs to clients?
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143 views

I'm looking at a photo that measures a continous 20“Hx144”L; the subject matter suggests it is late 1800s or very early 1900s. Is that possible?

I'm looking at a photo of Redwood trees, that measures 20"Hx144"L continuous,no seams. It dates from the late 1800s or early 1900s. Is that possible? Who might have produced this?
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2answers
637 views

How has the dynamic range of black & white prints changed in the last 70 years?

I've recently been studying black and white photographs to learn how to understand the qualities found in the kinds of photos by Weston, Bullock etc. I've been making a point of looking at prints in ...
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3answers
748 views

What caused the decline of the German camera industry?

I am very interested in the history of cameras. Unfortunately there seems to be very limited resources on it. Recently I have been trying to determine how and why the German camera industry lost out ...
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1answer
274 views

What is the precise model and background of this Kodak Six-20 camera with bellows?

I got this camera from my grand-mother who was French. I have been trying to identify it, although there seems to be a large amount of cameras from the same era that Kodak manufactured and that all ...
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3answers
1k views

Why do so many old cameras have camera lenses made in Japan?

I'm browsing what the world has to offer me when I want to buy old (circa ’70s or ’80s) camera, e.g., a Canon EX Auto QL. And I've noticed that most of them have camera lenses made in Japan. Was Japan ...
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5answers
8k views

How does Kelvin for color temperature relate to Kelvin for actual temperature?

Color doesn't have actual temperature. Try putting a blue square and a red square up on your monitor and hold a thermometer against both regions. If you find that there's a difference, you're doing it ...
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2answers
6k views

Why is it called “macrofocus” and not “microfocus”?

Typically, when referring to an image of a small object, or just something small, the prefix 'micro' is used. For instance, a tool to look at tiny objects in clear focus is a microscope. A device that ...
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1answer
458 views

What are the differences between Photgravure, Daguerreotypes, tintypes, circuit etching, et al?

Coming off the heels of: Photogravure: What is it?. I saw the first question and found it interesting and looked at the wikipedia article and noticed it said that it predated Daguerreotypes. I also ...
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2answers
208 views

How were negatives backed up prior to the availability of inexpensive scanners?

Prior to scanners becoming a commodity, how did photographers make duplicates\backups of their negatives? For example, if a wedding photographer's shop burned down, how did they recover? Or was it a ...
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1answer
702 views

Who is the photographer of this black and white photo of two female nudes standing over a pile of clothes?

A print was given to a friend long time ago and he vaguely remembers that he was told the artist was German. I feel like I have seen it somewhere before. I have tried searching by the below image in ...
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1answer
797 views

Which cameras were used prior to Apollo 11?

Which cameras were used on the missions prior to Apollo 11 ? I know that the moon landings used Hasselblad medium format.
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2answers
4k views

Why eye-controlled focus is gone?

I tried to google, but only semi-decent answer was that ECF didn't work for some and was a nightmare for support group. But are there any reasons modern Canons (or other major camera-makers) lack eye-...
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3answers
516 views

Who was the first to introduce a beauty dish?

Who and when first introduced or used a beauty dish? Also known as a softlight reflector. There's a lot of articles on the net on how to use a beauty dish, and on how it is important for fashion and ...