Old newsreel shares the history of photography as it appeared in 1939

by Liam McCabe

posted Monday, April 28, 2014 at 9:53 AM EST


In 2014, we look back at an early digital cameras like the Kodak Hawkeye from the late 1980s as if it’s an antique, and a long-running lens standard like the Nikon F mount, launched in 1959, as a stalwart relic of an ancient past.

This newsreel clip produced by British Pathé in 1939 is as old as dirt by those standards. But it was already celebrating the 100th anniversary of the daguerreotype camera, widely considered to be the first camera for practical use.

By that point, photography had already come a long way: Astrophotography, microphotography, aerial photography high-speed photography, X-ray photography, and cinema were all a reality. Radio waves had increased the news value of photography, enabling shots to be transmitted around the world for print on the same day.


Somehow, it makes everything that’s happened since then—the popularization of 35mm film, SLRs, digital cameras, smartphones, and wireless data—seem that much more impressive. Maybe someday we’ll be watching the 200th anniversary montage on an interactive holograph.

(Via PetaPixel)