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On 16 March we were privileged to hear a talk by Colin Harding, who was Curator of Photography and Phototechnology at the National Media Museum until last summer. He is now a humble student, he says, but he does not seem to have forgotten much!
It was an impressive lecture full of flashes of illumination (why is it called a camera?) to amusing asides. Apparently William Henry Fox Talbot, who was not known at the time by that name anyway, only developed his photographic process in response to the discovery that his new wife was a much better painter than he was. Not to worry, it was being invented independently by a number of others at the same time anyway! She referred to his original camera as a 'mousetrap' and the name stuck (see header).
And so through the developments - sliding boxes, stereo camera, panoramic camera, folding box camera, bellows-type, dry plates, detective camera (see above) to George Eastman's breakthrough onto celluloid film and the concept of an affordable camera, the famous 'Brownie'.
Then onto the interwar years with the Erminox 'night camera', the Rolliflex twin-lens reflex and the Leica - the first camera designed to have its negatives enlarged before printing. All previous designs were for contact prints.
Post-war came Polaroid's instant printing, Nikon's iconic SLR system with interchangeable lenses, Kodak's Instamatic colour cartridge camera, Canon's AE1 with the first on-board computer and Kodak's first prototype digital camera as early as 1973.
The Fotoman was the first commercially available digital camera and cost £500 in 1990.
A virtuoso performance from an expert on the subject! It was an evening no-one present will forget.
Images here are from the internet although those in the talk were from the National Media Museum and of cameras that they actually have.