How Photo Sharing Came To Be

By: Colleen Welch

Photography as an art form started out as science. Scientist aimed at trying to capture an image in time worked on various methods to make a still photo real. Today, photography is in some ways a science but is really more of an art form and a social norm. Anyone can take pictures. The talented can take artistic photographs. But we all can share them – the moments, the events and the feelings that we capture on film.

This article takes a look at the evolution of photography, starting with the scientific breakthrough of image capture to the present day where cell phones and mini-phones shoot pictures all over the world and upload them to global photo gallery sites where they can be shared with everyone.

History of Photography
Photography as a method of capturing images was not created until the 1830s. Louis Daguerre was able to speed up exposure time by using photographic plates and preserve images by immersing them in salt. It was at this point that middle and upper class consumers began paying for family portraits to be taken and portrait artistry began to stagnate.

These early photographers offered their clients photo albums to display their portraits. At that time, the photo album was incredibly popular because it preserved and sheltered the very expensive photograph. The albums were thick leather covered books with grand embellishments.

Eventually the collodion method of taking photographs was developed bringing the cost of having a photo taken down significantly and allowing more people to take and collect pictures from their lives. As more people collected photographs, photo albums too became more main stream.

In 1884, George Eastman introduced flexible film, taking the need for a dark room out of the picture. This opened up the gates for a slew of amateur photographers who could take a roll of film and have it developed later.

Throughout the late 1900s, photography became common place. It was part of our family vacations, holiday celebrations and weddings. Families began filling shoeboxes with photos. Home bookcases would boast several volumes of photo albums. It is no wonder then that with the digital age, photographs began filling hard drives to the brim as well. With digital photography, happy users could take photos and then pick and choose which to print, which to save and which to delete. Families could also create albums online where they can be viewed by many others any time they wanted.

Social networks like MySpace and Facebook created ways for people to remotely view their friends' photo albums. It wasn't long after that when photo networking websites like Flickr and PhotoSpace emerged providing the perfect outlet for everyday and professional photo takers to share the world as they saw it through a lense. Today, it is commonplace for people to view their friends' cool pictures by browsing an online gallery and even comment on the style, the color or just the image itself. It's incredible to consider that thousands of people from around the world may appreciate the same photograph online. It's amazing how much can change in such a short amount of time.

~Colleen Welch, 2009

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Colleen Welch is a contributing writer for Photospace. Share family photos, your music, your friends, your world on Photospace, the cool picture sharing site where we all meet.

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