Inventions of Photography - Chapter One - Before Photography

Welcome to the twelve days of photography! I’m thrilled to share a series I co-directed and produced with Jessica Johnston, Inventions of Photography.

Below is a very nice comment made about the series:

A note from the filmmakers:

It’s important to understand that photography was not invented in one moment or by one person. For thousands of years people have been able to create an image, using the pinhole or silhouette, but were not able to ‘fix’ or keep that image. This chapter explores the inventive spirit of the pre-photographic age and the key technologies and experiments that lead to its invention.

The best way to understand something is to actually see it. Our goal throughout the series was to let the viewer witness photographic processes by a series of recreations. Of course, some improvisation was required like repurposing a vintage white lady’s leather glove to recreate Wedgwood’s experiment.

Inventions of Photography - Chapter Two - The Daguerreotype

On the second day of Christmas, photography gave to me – the first photograph.

A note from the filmmakers:

To better understand the complex history of photography this series is divided into chapters. Each chapter focuses on a key photographic process and includes inspiring examples of the process. The first is Niépce’s heliograph: View From A Window at Le Gras, commonly attributed as the “first photograph”, it was made nearly 200 years ago and still exists to this day.

The documentary series also focuses on photography’s fascinating array of inventors. Louise Daguerre, a Parisian showman, created the first commercially successful photographic process, the Daguerreotype. The world hasn’t been the same since.

If you found this video informative and worth sharing, please share it 🙂 – Matt & Jess

Inventions of Photography - Chapter Three - Talbot's Processes

A note from the filmmakers:

The fact that Daguerre and Talbot, while residing in two different countries, created the world’s earliest photographic processes within months of each other is a fascinating historic coincidence. It spawned a rivalry that forever complicates the question: Who invented photography?

This chapter explores both Talbot’s contributions to the advancement of photography as well as his personal story, centered around his home at Lacock Abbey in England. It features one of George Eastman House’s most prized collection objects: a copy of Talbot’s Pencil of Nature, one of the first photographically illustrated publications.

NOTE: If you’d to watch watch all the chapters now, just go HERE.

Inventions of Photography - Chapter Four - The Cyanotype

A note from the filmmakers:

Sir John Hershcel was both an accomplished inventor and intriguing historic figure. As Mark Osterman asserts, “He’s the person who could have invented photography if he’d been bothered to”. It was Herschel who advised Talbot on how to ‘fix’ his images permanently. Herschel’s cyanotype process was unique in that it was a non-silver-based process and contains both the qualities of a Printing Out process as well as a Developing Out process. One of the highlights of the entire series is demonstrating how a cyanotype print comes to life in a bath of plain old water. Unlike other processes, the cyanotype process found new life through amateur photographic printing and architectural implementation well into the 21st century.

Inventions of Photography – Chapter Five - Collodion Processes: The Collodion Negative, The Ambrotype, The Tintype

A note from the filmmakers:

Not only did the collodion process produce a precise negative, it was also used in two popular direct positive processes, the tintype and the ambrotype. Getting your portrait done, which previously was affordable only for the wealthy, became inexpensive enough for everyone. The processes ushered in a romanticized era of the mobile horse-drawn laboratories that would make tintypes of soldiers during the Civil War.