August 19th was chosen as World Photo Day because it was an historically significant date in the field of photography. The Daguerreotype, the first practical photographic process in which an image was produced on a silver plate, was developed by Joseph Nièpce and Louis Daguerre in 1837. On August 19, 1839, the French government purchased the patent and announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World.”
That same year, William Henry Fox Talbot presented a paper to the Royal Society of London describing his photographic invention, the Calotype. His process was significantly different than Daguerre’s, creating negatives on sensitized paper that were then printed as positives. This was the first photographic process that enabled multiple copies of a single photograph to be produced. The celluloid-based film introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1884 uses the same principle as the Calotype.
According to WorldPhotoToday.com, “the first commercially available 35mm film camera was developed only 90 years ago, the digital camera became popular just 20 years ago, and 15 years ago camera phones didn’t exist!” Today, we are surrounded by photographic images everywhere we look. It’s hard to imagine a time when there were no photographs.
In honor of World Photo Day, browse through the gallery of awesome images submitted by photographers from around the world at http://worldphotoday.com/gallery. Once you have been sufficiently inspired, you and your students can grab your cameras and practice taking some artistic photos of your own! #WorldPhotographyDay