10 things you probably didn’t know about photography

I love fun and interesting facts, and I have collected 10 that I found extremely interesting to share with you!


1.     Loooooooong Exposure

As much as I love long exposure in images, in the early childhood of photography, they took long exposures to a completely different level! Back in the day, photography was not as simple as it is today. First of all, we didn’t start out with digital photography. Second, the images didn’t have colour and the quality wasn’t as good as people wanted it to be, often leaving the images blurred due to the long exposure time needed.  In the early days, the exposure time for an image could be hours where the subject had to sit completely still. No wonder no one ever smiles in old photographs. The oldest existing photograph was said to have an exposure time lasting days!

2. …speaking of old cameras

Long before the first photograph was created, the basic techniques behind photography were born.  The Camera Obscura was a darkened box with a small hole to let light travel through. Look inside the box and the scenery outside the box in front of the hole will be featured in full colour, movement and all, just upside down. The first records of the camera obscura go all the way back to ancient Greece, and some people think it is even older, dating back to the Stone Age.  Later in the 16th Century, it was used by painters, who wanted to create super-realistic paintings. The Camera Obscura is the predecessor to modern cameras.

3.   Going digital in 1975

The first digital camera was created as early as in 1975 by Steve Sasson, a long time before it was common for people to even own a computer. It was a camera only able to shoot in black and white. It weighed 8 pounds and recorded a 0.01-megapixel image to a cassette tape. The first time it was used, it took 23 seconds to expose the image.  It was a Kodak camera

4.   The Afghan Girl didn’t know she was famous

Imagine having your portrait taken but never seeing it. That was how it was the subject of one of the most mystical photographs of all time. Photographer Steve McCurry captured her portrait back in 1985 and ever since then, her eyes have been haunting us. To this day it is one of the most famous images taken. It took 17 years until she finally got to see her image. Until then no one had known if she was even alive nor what her name was. Her story is intriguing and definitely well worth a read.


5.     2.8 million dollar camera

Photography is expensive. Often you have to spend a ton of money just to get your camera body and then there is all the additional gear to add to the pile of expenses. Well, imagine spending 2.8 million dollars on a camera. A Leica 0-series from 1923 sold for a staggering 2.8 million to an anonymous bidder in 2012. 25 were made, and only 12 out of those 25 have survived time.

6. Social media taking over

As you are probably well aware, social media is a huge thing these days. Images are everywhere and almost everyone has access to some sort of camera, providing the world wide web with a constant flow of new pictures. On Instagram alone, a staggering 80 million photos are uploaded. Per day that is! If that is not enough, more than 30 billion images have been shared on the site since it was launched. One would think 80 million images is a lot, but not compared to the insane 300 million that are being uploaded to Facebook a day. Every 60 seconds on Facebook 136,000 photos are being uploaded.

7. Modern techniques from 1856

One of the most popular techniques in photography is HDR (High Dynamic Range). It is a method that, these days, you have on your camera, where you can capture images with a greater range of luminosity than you would without it. Simply put, it is the same image captured over multiple times with slight adjustments to the exposure, then being put back together, generating an image with a wider range of shadows and highlights. This technique dates back all the way from 1856 where Gustav Le Gray found a method to create images that looked closer to what we observe with our human eyes. Back then images lost a lot of detail in the highlights and shadows, creating images lacking valuable details.

8. Photography is not just one thing

In fact, it is many, many different things. According to Wikipedia, there is over 100 different genres and subgenres of photography. Imagine having to master every single one! Some of the most popular photography genres are Landscape photography, Wedding Photography, Portrait photography, Macro photography and fashion photography. Of the more unknown styles, you see Medical photography, femto-photography and subminiature photography.

9. Trigger happy 21ST century

As I mentioned before, we humans like to take pictures. In fact, we like it so much, that in just two minutes we manage to take as many images as they did back overall in the 19th Century.  That is a lot of pictures!

10. Traveling to the moon

Camera gear can be heavy. Especially back in the 60’s and 70’s where the equipment wasn’t as lightweight as it is today.Well, that was especially true for the 12 Hasselblad cameras that were left on the moon between 1969 and 1972, so the astronauts could bring back 25kg of lunar rock samples instead. I guess getting lunar stones beats buying a new camera.

I would absolutely love to know any fun facts you know about photography in the comments below!