CHAPTER 8Pix for All

How Photography Grew from Elite Profession to Everyday Obsession

Ross F. Collins

Introduction

Photography seems to be almost by definition a practice driven by technology. From the organic process based on chemicals to the digital process based on bytes, each technological advance in turn made its predecessor obsolete. Each new camera sought to record light in a way different from the one before it.

To tell the story of the medium, then, has fallen naturally to those who chose to lay down a timeline based on inventions. The early photo historians of the 19th century who wrote in the decades after 1839 were usually photographic inventors as well as chroniclers. They preferred to have their own inventions showcased, and ...

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