Welcome to this new series which I will simply call Photography Word of the Week. Each week I will take a common photography term and explain it’s meaning and why they are important. The goal of this? To enrich our vocabulary, and perhaps learn a thing or two about photography. I believe that the word worthy of the first Word of the Week should be Photography.
From the Ancient Greek words φωτός (phōtos – genitive of the word “light”) and γραφή (graphé – drawing, painting, writing, in this case drawing is the one which interests us), photography is the art of drawing light. While we may think it is a modern art, philosophers Mozi and Aristotle, as well as mathematician Euclid all described pinhole cameras back in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, but it was only over 1500 years later that the first camera obscuras and pinhole cameras were constructed, and by the 15th century they were used by artists such as Leonardo DaVinci to project an image on a canvas, where the artist would manually draw the image. Over the years, that manual process was replaced by film, and most recently by digital sensors.
The technology might evolve at an exponential rate, but the idea remains the same: light goes through a hole (or lens) and gets focused on something (canvas, film, digital sensor), which allows to immortalize the events, both joyful and sad, for millenniums to come.
Join us next week for the next Photography Word of the Week!