The Invention of the First Camera


First Camera pic

First Camera

Nashville photographer Benjamin Perlin focuses on traditional film cameras and techniques and counts a Nikon F2 and Zeiss Ikon Contessa among his vintage-model cameras. Benjamin Perlin also has a longstanding interest in the history of the photographic medium.

The camera came about largely through the efforts of Alexander Wolcott, who also ran the first daguerran (photography) parlor in New York and patented a camera design in 1840. This invention was preceded by a sliding wooden box design in 1826 that employed a mixture of chalk and silver, exposed under light.

The daguerreotype process came about in 1836 and involved a copper plate being treated with silver and iodine vapor, which increased its light sensitivity. The image was developed through further exposure to table salt and mercury vapor.

Mr. Wolcott’s invention combined light reflecting images in a box with the existing daguerreotype process. It was groundbreaking in that it allowed candid photos and enabled the reproduction of images captured on paper.

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