The Contraptions That Made Photographic Images Before Cameras Existed

You’re probably familiar with the beginnings of photography. The daguerreotype, early black and whites, sepia-tone — and it all gets more colourful from there. But what about before photography? When there was no capture medium or lenses and everything was based on linear perspective? How did these early artists capture something or someone in the most accurate way possible?

The video published by George Eastman House goes through exactly that. From silhouettes to chalk filled mason jars, Before Photography is the first of several segments about the history of photography. This particular video does a succinct sweep through the years before image capture, as it emerged through the interest in linear perspective with tracing silhouettes. The idea was to capture something exactly the way it was.

Different contraptions were built to try and make something more and more accurate. Specific machines were capable of taking an artist’s sketches and recreating them on a smaller or larger scale. Then photography took off. But even today, people still search for ways to draw as accurately as possible.