First color photograph

Historical Photography Timeline

  • Thomas Wedgwood

    Thomas Wedgwood
    In 1800, Thomas Wedgwood experimented with "sun photography" by placing opaque objects on leather treated with silver nitrate; which created images that disappeared rapidly if displayed under light stronger than from candles. Wedgwood was one of the first known people to experiment with substances that were altered when exposed to light.
  • Thomas Young

    Thomas Young
    Thomas Young propounds the 'three colour' idea of light. That there are three primary colours red, green and violet which move in waves. These three blend together to make up the whole spectrum and are received by only three cones in the eye.
  • Nicéphore Niépce

     Nicéphore Niépce
    Nicéphore Niépce produces first permanent photograph of a view from nature. Uses the photosensitivity of bitumen of Judea. He combine the camera obscura with photosensitive paper.
  • Henry Fox Talbot

    Henry Fox Talbot
    Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.
  • Alexander Wolcott

    Alexander Wolcott
    The first American patent issued in photography to Alexander Wolcott for his camera. Wolcott opened, which may have been the world's first portrait studio as well. In 1842, Wolcott discovered a combination of chemicals, known in London as Wolcotts's mixture, which reduced sitting time and was very sensitive to the action of light.
  • First Photographic Advertisement

    First Photographic Advertisement
    The first advertisement which a photograph was made in Philadelphia in 1843.
  • Frederick Scott Archer

    Frederick Scott Archer
    Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor in London, improves photographic resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcoohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass. Wet plate collodion photography was much cheaper than daguerreotypes, the negative/positive process permitted unlimited reproductions, and the process was published but not patented.
  • Panoramic Camera

    Thomas Sutton gets the first patent for his panoramic camera. The camera lens is made up of two hollow glass hemispheres. The flap on the front of the camera lifts up to allow an image to be taken.
  • Matthew Brady

    Matthew Brady
    Matthew Brady takes a photographic portrait of Abraham Lincoln in New York.
  • James Clerk Maxwell

    James Clerk Maxwell
    In London, James Clerk Maxwell demonstrates a projected color photographic image, using three different color filters.
  • First Color Photograph

    First Color Photograph
    Scottish physicist, James Clerk Marshall dabbled in color theory throughout his life, eventually producing the first color photograph in 1861. Maxwell created the image of the tartan ribbon shown here by photgraphing it three times thorugh red, blue, and yellow filters, the recombining the images into one color composite.
  • Shutter Developed

    Shutter Developed
    Eadweard Muybridge developed a shutter for his camera. This allowed him to photograph images in motion; up to that point the subject of a picture had to be still for long periods of time.
  • Kodak Camera

    Kodak Camera
    Eastman patents Kodak roll-film camera.
  • First Autofocus System

    1985: Minolta markets the world's first autofocus SLR system (called "Maxxum" in the US); In the American West by Richard Avedon. It was the first
  • First Color Camera

    First Color Camera
    Up until this point, photographs were in black and white. Auguste and Louis Lumiere introduced the Autochrome, the first color camera available to the public. The autochrome was the principal color photography process used before the invention of subtractive color film.
  • Sending Photographs

    Sending Photographs
    Using wires, AT&T sent a photograph across a distance. This opened the doors for the picture transmission of television.
  • The Daguerreotype

    The Daguerreotype
    Noted French scientist Francois Arago, with Daguerre, announces the details of the first commercially practical photographic process, the daguerreotype, before a joint session of the French Academies of Science and Fine Arts. A sharp mirror-like image on a silvered copper plate, the daguerreotype exploits a photosensitive latent image that is developed with mercury. The direct positive images start a craze of popular interest.
  • Instant Picture Process

    Instant Picture Process
    Dr. Edwin Land Invented an "instant" picture process, first called Polaroid Land. The special camera sandwiched the exposed negative with a receiving positive paper and spread the processing chemicals between the two, after processing these were peeled apart.
  • DX Coding

    DX Coding
    A system called DX coding was introduced for 35mm films. The cassettes have an auto-sensing code printed on them which enable certain cameras to automatically set the film speed, this information can also be used by processing laboratories.
  • Adobe 1.0

    Adobe 1.0
    Adobe Photoshop 1.0 image manipulation program is introduced for Apple Macintosh computers