What does photo mean?
Photography is the process of recording an image on a light-sensitive surface such as film or digital media. It is an extremely versatile and ubiquitous means of communication and documentation that plays a significant role in science, advertising, current events media, propaganda and most of our Snapshots.
Photographs can be used to express a wide range of ideas and messages about humanity, connection, identity, memory, experience, presence and intimacy. They can also serve as a portal to and catalyst for reckoning with the other through re-imagining ideas around human relationship, kinship, love, identity, and community.
The word ‘photography’ derives from the Greek words ‘phos’, meaning light, and ‘graphos’, meaning to draw or write. It combines two distinct sciences: optics, which enables the convergence of light rays to form an image inside a camera; and chemistry, which enables the images recorded on photosensitive materials to be permanently captured, recorded and displayed.
In the first place, photography was based on a device called the camera obscura, which artists and scientists used in the fifteenth century to help them record images. It could not be used to capture and store images, however, until Louis Daguerre developed the calotype process in the nineteenth century.
The calotype was very successful, but it required lengthy exposure times and a highly specialised process for developing and printing the images. Louis Daguerre and his partner, Charles Niepce, developed a method of improving the calotype which allowed images to be produced in less than a minute. This resulted in the emergence of the modern photographic medium.