Beginning of Photography – Physionotrace and Camera Obscura History

The beginning of photography explained in 6.22 min video created by George Eastman House.

From the ancient discovery of the camera obscura to the 18th century mechanical devices used to create silhouettes such as the physionotrace, this initial chapter explores the inventions and inventors that preceded photography.

It recreates the experiments of Johann Schulze who proved the light sensitivity of certain silver salts and Thomas Wedgwood’s early attempts to make photographic images.

These early pioneers contributed to the discovery of photography in 1839.

George Eastman House, an independent nonprofit museum, is an educational institution that tells the story of photography and motion pictures—media that have changed and continue to change our perception of the world.

Beginning of Photography - Physionotrace and Camera Obscura History