400 BC - Founder of Mohism, Mo-ti, is attributed with the first known mention of the basic concept of a pinhole camera.
350 BC - Aristotle makes practical use of the principles of a pinhole camera by observing the sun during a partial solar eclispse by using gaps between leaves of tree and holes in a sieve.
1000 AD - Ibn al-Haytham al Hazen Alhazen, studied the reverse image formed by a tiny hole and indicated the rectilinear propagation of light.

During this same time, English monk and scientist Roger Bacon also mentions the concept of a pinhole camera.
1050 AD - Shen Kuo experimented with camera obscura, and was the first to apply geometrical and quantitative attributes to it in his book of 1088 AD, the Dream Pool Essays. Shen never claims in his book that he was the first to experiment with a pinhole camera.
Roger Bacon in 13th century England describes the use of a pinhole camera as a way to safely observe a solar eclipses.
Using it to study perspective, Leonardo da Vinci provides the first detailed description of the pinhole camera in the Codex atlanticus (c. 1485).
The term "camera obscura" was first used by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler in 1604.

Published in 1685, Johann Zahn's Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium contains descriptions and diagrams of both the camera obscura and of the magic lantern.
During this period, the Dutch masters, especially Johannes Vermeer, renowned for their meticulous detail, make use of the pinhole camera and sedan chairs to produce their masterpieces. ( this remains a controversial, and fascinating study. Read more at the bottom of the page and follow the BBC link).
In 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce captured an image on a bitumen-coated metal plate using a pinhole camera to produce the first photographic image he dubbed heliographs. After Louis Daguerre improved the process, daguerreotypes were born, ushering the age of modern photography.

The popularity of the camera Obscura peaked in the 1890's when numerous were built for both entertainment and educational purposes including those of Sir David Brewster, Sir William Crookes, John Spiller, William de Wiveleslie Abney and Flinders Petrie who used his pinhole camera to photograph his Egyptian archaeological digs.
Share/Bookmark
Making the case for the use of a camera obscura in the work of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer.
BBC In-Depth

The case for Carravagio to come...




* The information on this page is gathered from a wide variety of sources and is intended as a general interest offering, compiling the history of the camera obscura into a visual representation. Please consult reliable sources for detailed historical information.
Much More to Come...
Copyright © 2010 Sfumato Press, LLC. All content is copyrighted either by the artist/writer or Sfumato Press and may not be reproduced without proper consent.