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World Photography Day: Celebrating the captured essence of time

August 19, 2023 4:12 PM IST

World Photography Day | Photography | Photograph | Daguerreotype | Landscapes

On August 19, people from all corners of the world gather to celebrate World Photography Day. This annual event pays homage to the art, science, and history of photography while remembering the pioneers who ignited the passion for freezing moments in time. The celebration of World Photography Day dates back to 1837 in France.

Honouring the pioneers

World Photography Day acknowledges the groundbreaker who laid the foundation for this powerful visual medium. Among these names, Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce take the center stage. In 1837, they introduced the revolutionary “Daguerreotype,” a photographic process that shifted the whole way of capturing scenes and faces. This innovation led to the emergence of photographic studios worldwide.

Theme for 2023

The theme for World Photography Day 2023 is to capture the beauty of ‘landscapes’. Encouraging participation and engagement, the invites photographers to share their best landscape shots across social media platforms, using the hashtags #WorldPhotographyDay and #WorldPhotographyDay2023.

History of Photographs

The roots of photography trace back to the early 19th century. Frenchman Nicéphore Niepce used heliography in the 1820s, capturing the world’s oldest surviving photograph, named “View from the Window at Le Gras.” However, the monumental breakthrough came in 1837, as Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce introduced the Daguerreotype, an accessible and accurate means of representation. Daguerreotype was an immediate success.

On January 9, 1839, the French Academy of Sciences announced this process, and later the government of France purchased the patent for the invention and gave it as a gift, “free to the world.” and the first durable coloured photograph was taken in the year 1861.

While the French discovery is regarded as the beginning of commercial photography, William Henry Fox Talbot simplified the technique of photographing in 1839. Almost 40 years later, in 1884, George Eastman of Rochester, New York perfected the daguerreotype method. Eastman created the Kodak camera in 1888. The invention made it possible for almost everyone to take a photograph.

The Digital Revolution

As technology advanced, photography evolved from film to digital. The 21st century ushered in a digital revolution, transforming the way photographs are taken, shared, and cherished. The rise of digital consumer cameras propelled photography to new heights, democratising the craft. The digital age brought with it unparalleled accessibility.

Despite the dominance of digital photography, a segment of photographers remains loyal to the timeless charm of film. Their preference is rooted in characteristics such as greater resolution, minimal electricity dependency, and fewer copyright concerns.

World Photography Day is a celebration of more than just images; it’s a celebration of moments, emotions, and stories captured in a frame. As the day unfolds, photographers and enthusiasts worldwide unite to honour the art that allows us to capture the world’s soul. From early daguerreotypes to today’s digital wonders, the evolution of photography continues to fascinate and inspire, proving that a single image has the power to transcend time and connect us across generations.

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Last updated on: 19th May 2024