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Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.


Typically, a lens is used to focus the light reflected or emitted from objects into a real image on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a timed exposure. The result in an electronic image sensor is an electrical charge at each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a digital image file for subsequent display or processing. The result in a photographic emulsion is an invisible latent image, which is later chemically developed into a visible image, either negative or positive depending on the purpose of the photographic material and the method of processing. A negative image on film is traditionally used to photographically create a positive image on a paper base, known as a print, either by using an enlarger or by contact printing.


Photography has many uses for business, science, manufacturing (e.g. photolithography), art, and recreational purposes.



Etymology


As far as can be ascertained, it was Sir John Herschel in a lecture before the Royal Society of London, on March 14, 1839 who made the word "photography" known to the world. But in an article published on February 25 of the same year in a German newspaper called the Vossische Zeitung, Johann von Maedler, a Berlin astronomer, had used the word photography already. The word photography derives from the Greek φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), "light" and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning "drawing with light".


Function


The camera is the image-forming device, and photographic film or a silicon electronic image sensor is the sensing medium. The respective recording medium can be the film itself, or a digital electronic or magnetic memory.


Photographers control the camera and lens to "expose" the light recording material (such as film) to the required amount of light to form a "latent image" (on film) or "raw file" (in digital cameras) which, after appropriate processing, is converted to a usable image. Digital cameras use an electronic image sensor based on light-sensitive electronics such as charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. The resulting digital image is stored electronically, but can be reproduced on paper or film.


The camera (or 'camera obscura') is a dark room or chamber from which, as far as possible, all light is excluded except the light that forms the image. The subject being photographed, however, must be illuminated. Cameras can range from small to very large, a whole room that is kept dark while the object to be photographed is in another room where it is properly illuminated. This was common for reproduction photography of flat copy when large film negatives were used. A general principle known from the birth of photography is that the smaller the camera, the brighter the image. This meant that as soon as photographic materials became sensitive enough (fast enough) to take candid or what were called genre pictures, small detective cameras were used, some of them disguised as a tie pin that was really a lens, as a piece of luggage or even a pocket watch (the Ticka camera).


The discovery of the 'camera obscura' that provides an image of a scene is very old, dating back to ancient China. Leonardo da Vinci mentions natural camera obscuras that are formed by dark caves on the edge of a sunlit valley. A hole in the cave wall will act as a pinhole camera and project a laterally reversed, upside down image on a piece of paper. So the invention of photography was really concerned with finding a means to fix and retain the image in the camera obscura. This in fact occurred first using the reproduction of images without a camera when Josiah Wedgewood, from the famous family of potters, obtained copies of paintings on leather using silver salts. As he had no way of fixing them, that is to say to stabilize the image by washing out the non-exposed silver salts, they turned completely black in the light and had to be kept in a dark room for viewing.


Renaissance painters used the camera obscura which, in fact, gives the optical rendering in color that dominates Western Art. The camera obscura literally means "dark chamber" in Latin. It is a box with a hole in it which allows light to go through and create an image onto the piece of paper.


The movie camera is a type of photographic camera which takes a rapid sequence of photographs on strips of film. In contrast to a still camera, which captures a single snapshot at a time, the movie camera takes a series of images, each called a "frame". This is accomplished through an intermittent mechanism. The frames are later played back in a movie projector at a specific speed, called the "frame rate" (number of frames per second). While viewing, a person's eyes and brain merge the separate pictures together to create the illusion of motion.


In all but certain specialized cameras, the process of obtaining a usable exposure must involve the use, manually or automatically, of a few controls to ensure the photograph is clear, sharp and well illuminated. The controls usually include but are not limited to the following: