Unidentified photographer, around 1900, self-portrait in mirror
Albumen print, 24 x 19.5 cm
Zeiss Ikon Cameras, Projektions- u. Kino-Apparate, Contessa - Ernemann - Goerz - Ica, around 1929, advertising card
Printed postcard, 14 x 9 cm
Unidentified Austrian amateur photographer, 1910s, Gelatin silver print, 13.8 x 8.8 cm
Advertisement in Deutscher Camera-Almanach, vol. 9, Berlin 1914
The earliest forms of photography used a device called a camera obscura. This device used a pinhole to project an image onto a light-sensitive surface. In the early 1800s, camera makers began to experiment with ways to fix the image by using chemical processes. The first cameras were large, bulky and expensive and most were used by professional photographers. They used glass plates and wet plates which had to be coated with chemicals before being exposed to light.
The 20th century saw a huge surge in the popularity of photography, and with it came some of the most iconic and important photographic cameras ever made. From the first portable cameras to the first digital cameras, the advances in technology during this period had a profound impact on the way we take pictures today.