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Who Invented The Camera?

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Many people are credited with having played a part in inventing the camera. Like many inventions, camera development went through many stages that included many different people. To answer the question simply, two men are responsible for having created the camera. The following is a brief history of cultures, inventors, and inventions that influenced the men, and what the two men created so that the camera as we know it could come to be.

Johann Heinrich SchulzeJohann Heinrich Schulze

The fundamental concept of the camera

The basics or fundamentals of camera obscura was discovered by Alhazen (Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham) when he invented the pinhole camera. Alhazen even went on to explain why the image produced by the pinhole camera was upside down. Alhazen was a great scientist and is known as the “Father of Modern Optics” by the scientific community.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce Joseph Nicephore Niepce.

Very early history of the camera: the first camera

The first idea for a camera-like device came from China early in the fifth century. A Chinese man realized that a process involving light, reflection, and a dark area would produce an identical copy of the image being seen. Later, Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered a process involving silver nitrate that would later be used to develop the camera. Johann Heinrich Schulze discovered that by using silver nitrate, he could create a black and white photo. The chemistry of silver nitrate allowed the unexposed part of a film to be white, while the exposed part to turn black. However, everything would turn to black over time. Without these two discoveries, the camera may not have come about.

The first pictures taken by Joseph Nicephore NiepceThe earliest surviving photo taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, 1827.


Photographs are the final product that the cameras produce. In France, Joseph Nicephore Niepce used previously developed camera-like devices, called obscure camera, to capture images and print them as a photograph. His experiments worked, but the photos he took only lasted a few hours and took a very long time to develop.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé DaguerreLouis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. Daguerre made big improvements in the photography field and his photos were much better than any previous camera ever produced.

Louis-Jacques-Mande and George Eastman

The two men listed above are the two men that are known for their breakthroughs in camera development. Each of the men made separate but important breakthroughs to the camera that made the device work more efficiently. Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, in 1836, produced the very first photographic machine that could capture images better than any of the earlier “camera” devices before him.

Photo taken by Daguerre in 1838 in ParisPhoto taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris. It took 10 minutes of exposure to create the photo.

George Eastman’s contribution

George Eastman is important to the camera’s history because he perfected the idea of the film that had been developed earlier. First, he used paper to develop the images, but later, he would use celluloid film that would efficiently capture and hold images. Eastman is also the founder of Kodak cameras. He developed a camera with a lens, and he sold that camera with film so that his customers could take pictures of their favorite moments. Eastman’s Kodak camera and film came in 1885.