Events in the 1900s
1900 Kodak Brownie : Kodak introduces the Brownie camera, a low cost and extremely simple-to-use camera which brings photography to the masses. It enables anyone to become a photographer and goes on to be one of the most popular consumer cameras of the 20th century.
1902 Ansel Adams (USA) Born : Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco. Noted for his development of the Zone System, a highly precise method of exposing, developing, and printing B&W images. His epic photographs of the American West - most especially Yosemite National Park - have come to symbolize the sheer enormity and beauty of America to people the world over. (d. 1984)
1902 Leni Riefenstahl (Germany) Born : Known by many as the "Mother of the Documentary" her photography and cinematography work is also hailed as the hallmark of propaganda filmmaking. Controversy swirls about her name even to this day. Was she a Nazi sympathizer or a documentary and art filmmaker? She claims to have been making art, but she also tells in her book "Hinter Den Kulissen Des Reichsparteitag-Films” how she helped plan the 1934 Nazi Party convention in Nuremberg with the purpose in mind of making a more effective film. Perhaps the most enduring contribution she has made to photography is the way her work fosters the ongoing discussion on the interconnectivity between art and society and therefore art and politics. (d. 2003)
1904 Margaret Bourke-White (USA) Born : A documentary photographer who was the first female photographer for Life, where her picture of Fort Peck Dam appeared on the first cover of the magazine. In 1942 she became the first woman Photographer to accompany the US Army Air Corps where she covered both WWII and the Korean War. She is also the first woman to fly on a bombing mission, which occurred over North Africa. (d. 1971)
1907 Lee Miller (USA) Born : At the age of 22, she moved to Europe to assist and model for Man Ray. During that time, she accidentally stumbled onto the 'Solarization effect' that Man Ray was to use so effectively. She was later commissioned by the U.S. Army to photograph concentration camps, and also was a war correspondent for Vogue. (d. 1977)
1907 Autochrome Lumière plate : Patented in 1903, the Autochrome Lumière plate became the first commercial color process in 1907, introduced by the Lumière brothers in France. The method involved creating an emulsion suspended within a mosaic of potato starch granules, that were dyed with red-orange, green, and blue-violet, combined with lamp black. Autochromes that have survived in good condition are noted for their startlingly faithful representations of color and detail.
1908 Henri Cartier-Bresson (France) Born : Regarded as one of the greatest photographers of his time, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a shy Frenchman who elevated "snap shooting" to the level of a refined and disciplined art. His sharp-shooter ability to catch "the decisive moment," his precise eye for design, his self-effacing methods of work, and his literate comments about the theory and practice of photography made him a legendary figure among contemporary photojournalists. (d. 2004)
1913 Robert Capa (Hungary) Born : One of the pioneers of modern-day political and war photography, Capa wins worldwide fame for his photograph of a soldier frozen at the moment of death while being shot during The Spanish Civil War. His few surviving frames of Omaha Beach become the quintessential images of D-Day. Capa went on to help found the Magnum Photo Agency in 1947. Died by stepping on a landmine in Indochina in 1954.
1913 Leica established : Leica introduces the first practical commercial 35mm camera prototypes. Leica takes 35mm movie film and re-orients it for still photography. The Leica I hit the market in 1925 in Germany.
1920 Rollei (Germany) : Originally named Werkstatt für Feinmechanik und Optik, Franke & Heidecke, Rollei was founded by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke, both previous employees at Voigtlander. They began by manufacturing a stereo camera and in 1927 they introduced the Rolleiflex.
1921 FOMA Bohemia : Foma Bohemia, Czech Republic, is established producing photographic plates and processing chemicals. About a decade later they introduced their line of photograph darkroom paper, and soon after introduced their line of black and white film.
1923 Diane Arbus (USA) : Studied photography under Lisette Model, became a well-known Photographer specializing in Documentary Portraits in New York City, exhibits at Museum of Modern Art New York, later goes on to teach at Parsons, Cooper Union, and RISD. She is known for going where few other photographers would go at the time, to document the fringes of American society. Died by her own hand in 1971. (d. 2004)
1923 Richard Avedon (USA) Born : Richard Avedon was born. He became perhaps the most prominent and well-respected Fashion and Portrait American photographer of the second half of the 20th Century.
1931 Strobe Photography : Development of strobe photography by Harold Eugene "Doc" Edgerton at MIT. This eventually leads to the modern photographic flash superseding the disposable flashbulb. For this he was also known as "Papa Flash."
1932 Photoelectric cell : First light meter with photoelectric cell introduced.
1932 Group f/64 founded : American pioneers Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, John Paul Edwards, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, and Imogen Cunningham founded the group f/64. They took the name from their preferred aperture setting, the smallest of the time. The organization continued until 1935, but its philosophy and aesthetic live on in what is known as the West Coast School.
1935 Farm Security Administration : Farm Security Administration was Founded (known as the Resettlement Administration until 1937) One of the FSA's tasks, assigned to the Historic Section, was photographic and sociological documentation of the work of the Resettlement Administration providing pictorial information on rural and small-town living conditions.
1935 Kodachrome : Kodak introduces Kodachrome, the first color positive transparency film, which also leads to home color motion picture film. Kodachrome became the premiere color slide film until the 1990s.
1935 WPA (Works Progress Administration) : WPA was created by the Roosevelt Administration. Notable Photographers from the era are Dorothea Lange (1895 - 1965) and Walker Evans (USA) (1903 -1975)(USA)
1936 Life : Life magazine is first published. It goes on to become perhaps the most significant image-oriented publication of the 20th century.
1937 Lisette Model : Lisette Model-begins her Photographic venture leading her to an exhibit in New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1940. Worked for Harper's Bazaar 1941-53 and also taught Photography in NYC from 1951-1982; one of her students being Diane Arbus.
1942 Kodak : Kodak introduces Kodacolor, the first color negative film, enabling color prints to be made.
1943 Russian Galina Sankova : Russian Galina Sankova, photojournalist and documentarian, photographs Russian children in German concentration camps, during WWII, in a body of work entitled "On the Trail of Horror." One of the most predominant Russian Female Photographers of her time.
1946 Freestyle : Freestyle is founded by Sam Fatman and Irving Resch in New York selling surplus military film supplies. After a move to Los Angeles, Freestyle continues to this day to offer a complete line of high value photographic products with the creative professional and educator in mind.
1947 Fotokemika (Croatia) : Fotokemika is founded, manufacturing black and white photographic materials. In 1970 Fotokemika bought the film coating plant from DuPont Adox and sold film under the Adox name. Due to lapses in the licensing agreement for the Adox brand name, they stopped using the Adox brand name and kept sales of their film going under the Efke brand name. In June 2012, Fotokemika stopped all production.
1947 Magnum Photos : Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour start the photographer-owned Magnum picture agency.
1947 Edwin Land (USA) : Dr. Edwin Land introduces the Polaroid camera, its first consumer camera, to the photo market.
1954 Minor White : Minor White first publishes the magazine Aperture.
1954 Tri-X : Kodak introduces "Tri-X" film in 35mm and 120mm formats, as the first high-speed B&W film. It is still preferred today for its flexibility, ease of use, and classic look.
1954 Cindy Sherman (USA) Born : Rises to prominence with her "Untitled Film Stills." One of the most noted series of self-portraiture work in the 20th century.
1955 "Family of Man" : "Family of Man" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art is organized by Edward Steichen (USA). It was the first major retrospective of photographs that included photographers from all over the world and elevated the medium to the standard of fine art.
1959 Nikon : Nikon introduces the Nikon F, the first true SLR system camera. The F-series continues to set the standard for SLR photography to this day.
1963 Instant Film : First color instant film developed by Polaroid
1970 Inkjet Printing : Ichiro Endo, an employee of Canon, Japan, discovers the reaction ink has when it is combined with heat and uses that technology to create the first inkjet printer.
1972 110mm Film : 110-format film and cameras introduced by Kodak with a 13x17mm frame. The format remained popular until the 1980s when it fell out of favor. The 110 format has a resurgence in popularity in the late 2010's due in large part to Lomography manufacturing new 110 positive film, and point and shoot film cameras coming back into the mainstream culture.
1972 C-41 : C-41 color negative process introduced, replacing C-22.
1973 One-step : Polaroid introduces the SX-70 camera, the first one step instant camera.
1975 E-6 Slide Processing : Modern E-6 slide processing is introduced.
1975 Kodak Digital : The first known digitally recorded images were created in a Kodak lab by Steven Sasson in 1975 and it took 23 seconds to capture the 0.01 MP image. The camera was very basic but the recording apparatus weighed in at 8 pounds.
1981 Ansel Adams : Ansel Adams purchases his first package of Oriental B&W Paper from Freestyle. We later go on to introduce this well-regarded paper to America. Freestyle continues to offer unique, high value products for the creative photographer.
1982 Holga (China) : The Holga in 120mm format is designed by Lee Ting Mo in China. Created to appeal to working-class people as an affordable way to record everyday life. The Holga takes off outside of China, gaining a following among artists and street photographers, who embraced the plastic camera's light leaks, vignettes, and other quirks. The 120mm Holga is followed by various other formats including a pinhole Holga, 110 format, 35mm, stereo 3D Holga among others. In 2015, Freestyle confirmed the closure of the factory that produced the beloved camera.
1983 DX Encoding : Kodak introduces DX barcode for 35mm film, which can be read by automatic cameras to determine film speed.
1984 Hahnemühle USA : In 1584 Merten Spieß was granted permission to build a paper mill. In 1886 Carl Hahne bought the mill. In 1902 the company was merged with Schleicher & Schuell, and in the early 2000's the company was renamed to Hahnemühle FineArt GmbH. In 1984 they established their US subsidiary. In 1997 Hahnemuhle created their Digital FineArt papers, bringing their FineArt Papers to the world of digital.
1984 Canon : Demonstrates first digital still camera, the RC-701, opening the door to an entirely new age of photography.
1985 Minolta : Minolta markets the world's first autofocus SLR system (called "Maxxum" in the US)
1986 Arista : Arista lines of Paper and Film are introduced by Freestyle as a value leader in the B&W market.
1990 Adobe Photoshop Released : The first version of Adobe Photoshop is released, giving birth to the digital darkroom.
1992 PhotoCD : Kodak introduces PhotoCD
1992 Fotoimpex (Germany) : Fotoimpex is founded as an importer of Eastern European photographic materials. In 2003 they obtained the rights to the Adox name. Among others, they imported Efke KB films and sold them as Adox branded films. They have a factory in Bad Saarow, Germany; and produce beloved products like Rodinal, using the last formulations made by Agfa before they closed.
1999 Nikon D1 DSLR : In 1999, Nikon released the D1, the first professional DSLR to break into the market outside of the Kodak empire.