World Photography Day 2020: History, significance, and evolution of the photograph – more lifestyle


A picture is worth more than a thousand words; it is a means of personal expression and the appreciation of it, all at the same time. A photograph has the ability to capture feelings, ideas, experiences, moments in time, and immortalize them forever. And as it can convey these expressions faster, and occasionally more effectively than words, it has become one of the primary modes of communication in the digital world.

World Photography day is an annual worldwide celebration of the science, history, art and craft of photography. It traces its origins to 1837 when the first ever photographic process, the ‘Daguerreotype’ was developed by the Frenchmen Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce. On January 9, 1839, the French Academy of Sciences announced this process, and later in the same year, the French government purchased the patent for the invention and gave it as a gift, “free to the world.”

However, the first durable colour photograph was taken in the year 1861 and there is even speculation about the first digital photograph being invented in 1957, 20 years before the invention of the first digital camera.

August 19 marks the day when the people who share a passion for photography come together to raise awareness and share ideas about the field of photography. This unofficial holiday is a celebration of the creativity and nuances of photography that have captivated people for decades. With various advancements in technology, we have seen many different methods of photography over the years, but the essence remains the same.

Roland Barthes in his book, Camera Lucida, he talks about the meaning of photography and its various methods. He mentions that, “What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once. The Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially.” And it is in this repetitive nature that we find the appreciation of photography.

Barthes also goes on to talk about photography as inherently violent. “Not because it shows violent things, but because on each occasion it fills the sight by force, and because in it nothing can be refused or transformed (that we can sometimes call it mild does not contradict its violence).” The photograph in itself has such a purposeful expression that it establishes a connection between the senses of the photographer and those of the viewer to such an extent that it forms an unchangeable experience for all to witness.

Photography has evolved from its original purpose of documentation into a language in its own right. Different methods of photography convey different emotions, and often each photographer, in the course of time, develops their own style.

Each year, in celebration of this art form, many promotional photography competitions are announced with various themes to choose from.

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