10 Little Known Facts from the World of Photography

by Miserere


  1. The word “Photography” was coined in 1839 by British mathematician and astronomer Sir John Frederick William Herschel (son of Sir Frederick William Herschel, discoverer of the planet Uranus). Hershel also coined the terms “negative” and “positive” as they apply to Photography. You can see a splendid portrait of him here.
  2. You can’t take a bad portrait of a lion.
  3. While the Leica brand is famously identified with Germany, they have also built cameras in Canada and Portugal.
  4. The single-lens reflex photographic camera (SLR) was invented in 1861 by Thomas Sutton, a native of Jersey (one of the Channel Islands)—it was a large format camera. The first 35mm SLR developed was the Soviet Union’s Спорт (“Sport”), from 1934. Because it wasn’t marketed until 1937, Germany’s Kine Exakta became the first 35mm SLR to be sold when it hit shops in 1936. Asia’s first SLR, the Asahiflex, was introduced in 1952 by Japan’s Asahi Optical Corporation (later to become Pentax).
  5. Around 1888, a Mr George Eastman, of Rochester, New York, decided he needed a unique name for his expanding company. In his own words: I devised the name myself. The letter ‘K’ had been a favorite with me — it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter. It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with ‘K.’ The word ‘Kodak’ is the result.
  6. Professional portrait photographers never ask their subjects to say cheese when posing them for a photo, what they are actually mumbling under their breath is please pay for this session, pleeeease…
  7. Nobody knows why East Asian girls make the peace sign when they pose for photos. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a Flickr Group for it.
  8. Henri Cartier-Bresson once asked Marilyn Monroe to “bless” his camera before a photo shoot. She acquiesced by placing her bum on it. I did not make this up!
  9. People in the 19th century didn't like being photographed, which is why they are all so serious in those old photographs. Actually, those images were Daguerreotypes, and it took 10-20 minutes to expose a plate—try holding a smile for that long!.
  10. The first portable, compact camera for the masses that did away with the need for a mule to carry photographic supplies was the Kodak Brownie. It was introduced in 1900 at a cost of $1, which is equivalent to around $26 in today’s money.

9 Responses to “10 Little Known Facts from the World of Photography”

  1. #2 – really??? awesome.
    #7 – my same exact thoughts all the time. Esp when Garry on photo net would post his pics of his coworkers.
    #8 – oh my. where in the world is THAT camera now and how much will it be worth?!

  2. Cool list, did you write it all yourself?

    I think $26 today is closer to one dollar in the fifties, not a hundred years ago.

    • Glad you liked it, E. Yes, I did the research myself reading around the web, looking for interesting stories. The comedy entries I made up, of course 🙂

      As for the $26, I used an inflation calculator. It only goes to 2008, but that’s why I said around $26. I just found this other calculator which extrapolates into the future, and returns $29.60 in 2010 being the equivalent to $1 in 1900.

  3. #2: it’s not a PHYSICAL impossibility. It’s just that, well, YOU ty it it you’re tired of breathing! 🙂
    My little nephews can’t stand still and keep from rushing “show me the picture”. Dang preview screens. Better not miss that lion’s portrait then…
    “You can’t”, as in, “you can’t lift a Saudi woman’s veil on the street”. Nobody has done it and lived to tell…

    I just explained all this because you hadn’t posted a reference link for that one. 😉

  4. “My little nephews can’t stand still and keep from rushing “show me the picture”. Dang preview screens.”

    Turn off the preview and tell him the camera is broken, he can only see the picture after it’s repaired.

  5. #6. LOL. #9. I still have that problem. 🙂 Great photo trivia.

  6. “Turn off the preview and tell him the camera is broken”

    What, you mean I’m actually gonna have to read the manual? 😦
    My little nephew never reads the manual of his videogames.

    …Might explain why he always has to play his games from the beginning. He still doesn’t know about that highly advanced trick called “saving”. :-p

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: