A curious young girl brushed a layer of dust from the fragile cover of a worn album. As she opened it, the pages fell to a faded photo of another woman who seemed to be lingering shyly in a secluded meadow brimming with the radiance of colorful jewel-like blossoms. The child ran her fingers along the outline of the face in the picture, recognizing the obvious resemblance. The woman was her late mother whom she did not get a chance to know. The young girl flipped through the rest of the pages, reliving the most memorable events in her mother’s life. As she looked through the album, she began to grasp her mother’s very essence. Later that evening as she sat on the edge of the window seat in the corner of her room, the young girl felt more connected to her mother than she had ever before and the album she found earlier instilled a comfort inside her. Although her mother was no longer physically present, she felt as though her spirit lived on through the pages of treasured photos. She would not be forgotten.
Since the beginning of time, human beings have searched for ways to preserve memories, and although God has granted us the ability to remember, our memories warp and fade with time. The events that occur throughout our lives change the way we approach our peers as well as the way we approach problems and difficult situations. Specific events brand us in such a way that they leave us grasping for a means to perpetuate those memories. Van Riper, former editor of the New York Daily News states, “Of the senses, [sight] is the one that most often betrays us—yet most often, too, the one that gives us hope. We are, it turns out, generally poor eyewitnesses… The gift of sight is precious and flawed. Yet what is more precious than sight, to see one’s beloved or to view the dawn?” The development of photography has given us the ability to remember indefinitely with a clarity that would not otherwise exist. The beginnings, the equipment, the editing process and the impact of photography are all components of the invention that has allowed us to relive our pasts and augment our sense of culture and background.
Primitive efforts to capture pictures have existed for thousands of years, but Loius-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre of France and William Henry Fox Talbot of England devised the first practical photographical processes (Jolly). “Writing with light” had been attempted before by Nicephore Niépce but his process was “much too lengthy and complicated to be repeated”. He is, however, credited with creating the first true photograph (Sandler). Nonetheless, Talbot and Daguerre are widely recognized as the primary photographic pioneers. Both the inventors’ processes involved capturing a still image through the manipulation of silver compounds but the technical details of their methods differed.
Louis Daguerre’s method required a silver plate coated with silver iodide to be exposed to the light inside the camera. Consequently, the exposed silver iodide is broken down...