Smile! National Camera Day is June 29, a day to celebrate the fact that photography, once so complicated that it was difficult for a scientist to understand, is now part of our daily lives.

The word “photography” is based on two Greek words that, when put together, mean “write with light”. It is a beautiful way to describe what a camera allows us to do: tell a story without the use of words. It all goes back more than 800 years to the invention of the camera obscura. Meaning “camera obscura”, the camera obscura was nothing more than a box with a hole on one side.


The light would pass through the hole into the dark interior of the box, where it would project an image onto the flat interior surface. Unfortunately, when the light went out, the image disappeared, like Instagram, but without a real photo. Fast forward through the centuries to today, when everyone with a smartphone has a camera at their fingertips. If you love shooting movies and changing lenses or prefer the ease of digital, use June 29 to focus on how cameras have made telling our stories easier than ever.

What is National Camera Day (June 29) and Activities

National camera day timeline

2004 – Digital becomes dominant
Kodak stops making movie cameras.


2000 – Cameras on a phone?
The first mobile phone with a built-in camera is introduced.

1970s-90s – Enter the digital age
Numerous manufacturers went to work on cameras that stored images electronically,
resulting in the first point-and-shoot cameras.

1948 – Lands of Instant Gratification
George Land invents the Land camera, the world’s first snapshot that needs node development

1936 – “Life” hits the streets
Henry Luce’s “Life” becomes the first fully photographic magazine to appear in

1935 – Eastman does it again
Eastman introduces Kodachrome, the first and arguably the best color transparency film.

1925 – Photography hits the presses
The Leica I becomes the first practical and commercially successful 35mm camera, a
Photojournalists’ favorite.


1903 – Photography takes wing
The Wright brothers invent the airplane, which revolutionizes aerial photography,
making it an important tool for the military.

1900 – Meet the brownie
The first mass-marketed camera goes on sale and the public goes wild.

1880s – Enter modern cinema
In 1884, George Eastman invents the first flexible photographic film. He follows this
with another first in 1888, when he patented the Kodak roll film camera.

1841 – Talbot patents the calotype
William Henry Fox Talbot patents the Calotype process, the first negative-positive
process that allows multiple copies of an image to be reproduced.

1839 – The forerunner of filming born
Louis Jacques Daguerre invents the Daguerreotype, the first commercial success
Photographic process to create a permanent image on a metal plate.

1825 – The first printed image
French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invents the heliograph, an impression that required
Eight hours of light exposure to create and it soon faded away.

400 B.C.E. – Invented old optic
The Chinese provide the first known written record of their camera scan.
dark, or pinhole images.

What is National Camera Day (June 29) and Activities


Say cheese!

It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to take a family portrait. National Camera Day gives you another reason to get everyone together for a summer photo shoot. Who knows? It could become the new family tradition.

Take a safari

You don’t need a passport for this one, just enough free time to slow down and look at the familiar surroundings in a new way. Have you been on that street a hundred times? Shoot at different times of the day as the light changes. Do you love walking in the woods? Approach and photograph the knot in a tree or a single drop of rain. Wandering around with a camera can give you a new perspective on how you see the world.

Get creative doing scrapbooking

Photos can take up a lot of space on your computer, or worse, deteriorate when stored in boxes. Clear clutter and organize your favorites in scrapbooking. Select photos with a specific person in mind to create a deeply personal and much-appreciated gift.


Yes, you have a “good side”

Researchers from Wake Forest University discovered that the left side of our faces looks better in photographs than the right side.

The best model was a dead model.

Since it used to take hours of exposure to capture a single image, many of the first photographic portraits taken were of corpses.

Cheers for the cheerleader effect

Research published in the journal “Psychological Science” showed that since being in a group averages everyone’s characteristics, we are better perceived in group photos than in individual portraits.

No, they weren’t afraid to smile

In fact, the reason why people look so bleak in old photos is a necessity; It’s almost impossible to keep a smile when you have to lie absolutely still for hours to get a single shot.

The Selfie opens in 1839

It was then that Robert Cornelius installed his camera in the back of his family’s store, removed the lens cap, and then ran to the frame to capture his own photograph, a process that took several minutes.


Why we love National Camera Day

Sure, you can take a pen or use a computer to write about what’s going on in your life, or you can take and post a photo. Photography allows you to show the world how you feel, what you are doing or where you are in a single image.

Photography keeps memories

Over time, photographs can become treasured relics. Whether you store your images in shoe boxes or post them on a website, photography ensures that the events and moments that matter most to us can be captured, saved and shared permanently.

Anyone can be a photographer

There is no longer a steep learning curve for photography, nor bulky equipment to transport. From simple point-and-shoot cameras to cell phones and tablets, you can always be ready to take the photo.


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