The world has become obsessed with taking photographs. We live in an age where we are surrounded by visual media and have access to more devices for capturing our own images than ever before.
From family snapshots taken on a mobile phone to the organised photographic shoot, an estimated 3.8 trillion photographs have been taken to date.
Researchers used a variety of data to determine this figure, including numbers kept by silver halide producers, estimates from digital photography experts and statistics gathered from the film industry.
The very first photograph was taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce. The French inventor called the piece ‘View from the Window at Le Gras’. And it is thought the oldest photograph depicting a person was that of a man having his shoes shined in Paris.
The first commercial camera was produced some 80 years after the camera was invented. Before that time experts believe just a few million photos were taken. In 1901, the Kodak Brownie was launched. By 1930 an impressive one billion photos were being taken each year, and by 1960 this number had tripped to three billion – 55% of these were of babies.
Photography continues to grow in popularity as more and more people get access to photography equipment and the skills necessary to take pictures with it.
The Digital Revolution
Today it is estimated that we take an astonishing 360 billion photographs each year. The increase in most recent years has been phenomenal, and there is no sign of it slowing down. Most households have access to more than one camera and take several pictures every day.
The first digital camera was invented in 1975 by Kodak engineer Steve Sasson. The camera, created using leftover parts, saved the images to a cassette tape attached to the side of the kit and took 23 seconds to capture each image. It was this wondrous invention which changed the world of photography for good, revolutionising the way images were captured.
The original commercial digital camera on the market was the 1.3-megapixel Nikon F3. Released in 1991, it was popular with photojournalists but a bit beyond the novice photographer.
However, in 1995 Apple developed the QuickTale 100, a digital camera that was both simple to use and affordable. Kodak and Casio also launched affordable cameras in the same year, with Sony just a year behind, releasing their own version in 1996.
1997 saw the first camera phone image shared, and the new age of affordable and highly shareable imagery was born. There are now approximately a billion photographs on Instagram, and we upload more than 300 million photos to Facebook daily. And since its launch in 2004, Flickr has become the most popular platform for image sharing in the world.
But regardless of the technology at our fingertips today, professional photographers are still very much in demand, such as the New Forest photographer available at newforeststudio.com.
We now take more photographs every two minutes than were ever taken in the 1800s and can be absolutely sure that future generations will have plenty of evidence to tell them all about the the way people lived in the 21st century.