Photograph

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A photograph (often shortened to photo) is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of what the human eye would see. The process and practice of creating photographs is called photography. The word "photograph" was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel and is based on the Greek φῶς (phos) "light" and γραφή (graphê) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning "drawing with light".[1]

Contents

History

The first permanent photograph was made in 1822[2] by a French inventor, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, building on a discovery by Johann Heinrich Schultz (1724): that a silver and chalk mixture darkens under exposure to light. Niépce and Louis Daguerre refined this process. Daguerre discovered that exposing the silver first to iodine vapor, before exposure to light, and then to mercury fumes after the photograph was taken, could form a latent image; bathing the plate in a salt bath then fixes the image. These ideas led to the famous daguerreotype.

The daguerreotype had its problems, notably the fragility of the resulting picture, and that it was a positive-only process and thus could not be re-printed. Inventors set about looking for improved processes that would be more practical. Several processes were introduced and used for a short time between Niépce's first image and the introduction of the collodion process in 1848. Collodion-based wet-glass plate negatives with prints made on albumen paper remained the preferred photographic method for some time, even after the introduction of the even more practical gelatin process in 1871. Adaptations of the gelatin process have remained the primary black-and-white photographic process to this day, differing primarily in the film material itself, originally glass and then a variety of flexible films.

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