Omni Escapes Magazine Escapes Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 57

EARLY BEGINNINGS In the late 18th century, Englishman Th omas Wedgwood attempted to capture the image portrayed in a camera obscura, a box with a small hole in it through which light, and the picture carried by it, traveled and refl ected against a mirror. He used both paper and white leather coated with silver nitrate, a light-sensitive compound, to expose the image. Unfortunately, they didn’t hold. Later, French inventor Joseph Niépce attempted the same experiment with bitumen, a black, highly viscous liquid. After hours of light exposure, he produced the fi rst world’s fi rst photograph, “View from the Window at La Gras,” in the 1820s. By 1839, French painter and physicist Louis Daguerre revealed his technique of producing a one-of- a-kind image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper, which developed in just minutes and yielded clearer likenesses. In 1841, British inventor William Henry Fox Talbot patented the calotype process. Th is was the fi rst technique of its kind to result in a negative paper image that could be replicated into several positive images after its exposure. “Th is was an important milestone in the history of pho- tography,” says Lee Bareford, a professor of photography at Savannah College of Art and Design. “Th e invention of the negative made photographs reproducible.” Th e process was refi ned yet again in 1880, when New Yorker George Eastman invented dry-plate photography. Th rough this technique, he developed a formula for gel- atin-based paper fi lm as well as a patented machine for preparing large quantities of the plates. Five years later, Eastman, along with camera inventor William Hall Walker, patented the Eastman-Walker Roll Holder. Th is device permitted photographers to feed several exposures of paper fi lm through a cam- era, moving away from individual single-shot plates. Ultimately, this tool was the foundation of camera technology until the introduction of digital photography nearly 100 years later. It also became the basis for the fi rst mass-produced Kodak camera. It was placed on the market in 1888 with the slogan, “You press the button— we do the rest.” It was a milestone that many considered to be the birth of traditional photography, and it put Kodak on its way to becoming a household name. At the turn of the 20th century, the Eastman Kodak Co. was founded and the fi rst of the famous Brownie cameras was introduced and sold for $1. Th is made photography an aff ordable hobby for many. Th e Brownie, a cardboard box camera with a simple lens that took pictures on roll fi lm, was slightly bulky but nevertheless popular. “Th e Brownie revolutionized photography by putting it in the hands of self-taught or ‘amateur’ photogra- phers,” Bareford says. “Th ese amateur photographers played a substantial part in establishing the visual culture that would reach its maturity in the picture publications of the 1930s and 1940s and their voracious audiences.” BETTER, FASTER, SMALLER After the Brownie came the more superior Leica. Th is model was created by German engineer Oskar Barnack in 1913 and made available to the public in 1925. He developed a portable 35 mm camera that was not only smaller and lighter than other hand-held cameras, but also utilized inexpensive standard movie stock. Th is allowed a photographer to quickly and eff ortlessly make dozens of exposures without reloading. “Th e 35 mm cinema fi lm used in early Leica cameras arguably became the most popular fi lm format for over half a century,” Bareford says. “Th e resolution provided by precision lenses also allowed the relatively small 35 mm negatives to be enlarged to a variety of display sizes, facilitating reproductions for the print press and fi ne art applications. Th e portability, inconspicuous size, FA L L 2 0 1 7 OE3-Picture-eV3-e.indd 57 These historic images of Omni properties demonstrate just how much photo technol- ogy has evolved. Clockwise from top left: Omni Mount Washington Resort; Omni Parker House, which dates back to 1855; Omni William Penn Hotel | 57 | ESCAPES 9/21/17 11:02 AM