May Is National Photography Month

national photo month

In 1987, May was recognized by Congress as National Photography Month.  The word photography comes from the Greek words ‘photos’ (light) and ‘graphein’ (to draw).  Photography has certainly evolved over the years.  This is a great opportunity to reflect on its history which is highlighted below in a very condensed timeline.

In 1827 Joseph Nicephore Niepce produced the first photographic image with a camera obscura.  His sun prints, or heliographs, allowed light to draw his pictures.  In 1829, Louis Daguerre helped Niepce improve the process and developed a method called daguerreotype.  This method ‘fixed’ images onto a sheet of silver plated copper.   It was commercially introduced in 1839.  In 1889, George Eastman invented film that had a flexible, unbreakable base.  In the 1940’s color and Polariod photographs were developed with digital and disposable cameras making their appearance in the 1980’s.

The first negative was invented by Henry Fox Talbot, an English botanist and mathematician. In 1841, he perfected the paper-negative process and called it calotypeTintypes were patented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith.  A more stable and detailed negative called wet plate negatives (Collodion process), was introduced in 1851 by Frederick Scoff Archer.  The processing of these negatives required a portable darkroom, which limited the range of photography.

By 1879, the dry plate negative was invented.  This meant no more portable darkrooms and cameras could become hand-held devices.  In 1889, George Eastman invented film that could be rolled which made the mass-produced box camera a reality.  This opened up a whole new world of photography and the evolution of cameras.

The first twin-lens-reflex camera was introduced in 1929.

Polaroid photography (instant photos) was invented by Edwin Herbert Land and first sold to the public in November 1948.

Fuji introduced the disposable camera in 1986.

Canon demonstrated the first digital camera in 1984.

And in the early 2000’s,  the first camera phone was sold in Japan.


Explore the world of photography through Cheshire Public Library’s extension collection here. 

A sampling:

history of photographyThe History of Photography – from 1839 to presentTraces the evolution of photography and offers vivid illustrations of technical innovations in this visual form of communication.


world history of photographyA World History of Photography – Traces photographic history both topically and chronologically, profiles key masters, explains terms and processes, and features the landmarks in the development of photography.

book ofThe Book of Photography – the history, the technique, the art, the future – Anne H. Hoy A reference guide to the history and production of photography provides definitions, biographies, a timeline of photographic milestones, and information on genres and technical and aesthetic achievements.

camera phoneThe Camera Phone Book: secrets to making better pictures – A compact guide to using one’s cell phone to take digital photographs demonstrates the capabilities of the latest models of camera phones, explaining how to select the right equipment, take better pictures, and store, print, and send images.

kodakKodak, the art of digital photography – The revolution in digital technology has turned us all into shutterbugs. Never before has it been so easy to snap photos and share them instantly. But what about the quality of these images? Does simply owning a digital camera make you a first-rate photographer? For those who want to take a better picture, this lavishly illustrated guide reveals the art of composing incredible photos in any scenario.

llL.L. Bean Outdoor Photography Handbook –  A beautifully illustrated in-depth guide that offers practical instruction on making the best of your outdoor shots, for beginning through intermediate photographers.


joyJoy of Photography – Provides advice on equipment and accessory selection, effective use of camera functions, basic photography techniques, techniques for a variety of subjects, and development of a personal style, and includes discussions with well-known professional photographers.

annieA Photographer’s Life –  A visual narrative offers more than three hundred images that document the photographer’s relationship with her late companion Susan Sontag, the birth of her daughters, the death of her father, and famous actors and politicians.


it'sIt’s What I Do: a photographer’s life of love and war –  A MacArthur Genius Grant and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist documents her relentless pursuit of complex truths in the years after September 11, describing her witness to the American invasion of Afghanistan and the lives of people before and after Taliban reign.

We also offer two monthly magazines:   Outdoor Photographer Magazine and  Popular Photography Magazine.






Remembering Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

MV5BMTIzMzY1MzEyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjU4MTg1._V1_SY317_CR8,0,214,317_AL_Actor, writer, poet, photographer and folk singer Leonard Nimoy, most famous for his acting role in the television series Star Trek as the iconic half-breed alien Mr. Spock, died on February 27th from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.#

Most famously known as the cool and logical half-Vulcan first officer on Star Trek, Nimoy shot to fame and popularity beyond anything ever seen in television. Initially he resented his fame and the type-casting it brought him, which he discussed in his 1975 book, I Am Not Spock, but by 1995, in his sequel, I Am Spock, he had come to grips with both the character and how it had effected his life.

In addition to Star Trek, Nimoy also had a recurring role as Paris in season four and five of the indexoriginal Mission: Impossible, and voiced the paranormal exploration documentary series, In Search Of… , in addition to countless television guest roles and films such as A Woman Called Golda and the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Nimoy had an extensive theater career, starring on Broadway in Equus and Vincent, a play he himself adapted about van Gogh. He became a successful director, directing not only the third and fourth installments of the Star Trek franchise, but Three Men and a Baby, the highest grossing film of 1987.

Nimoy had a life-long love of photography, one of his greatest passions. He had several books published, as well as exhibits at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. (Nimoy was born in Boston, and remained faithful to the area.) In addition he published several volumes of poetry, the most recent being 2002, A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life.

Following theindex poetry angle, Nimoy tried to make a singing career, putting together albums as early as 1967. He wrote the song “Maiden Wine” that he sang in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” To be dreadfully honest, some of the songs live in infamy as being so painfully bad, they’re camp. Perhaps it was just the songs chosen, or the musical direction. I was part of a room skyping with Nimoy last August, during which he sang a song for us that he had written, and not only were the lyrics beautiful, he sang it beautifully as well. Perhaps Nimoy’s voice just needed to mellow with age, but I wish I had a recording of that. Nimoy mourned the fact that even though he had quit smoking thirty years before, his COPD was a direct result of having smoked, and urged everyone to quit immediately, and better yet, never even to start.

I had seen Nimoy in person at least twice, three counting the skype, and he never failed to please a crowd. He was honest and sincere, speaking about science, space exploration, and philosophizing about it all. He never displayed the arrogance of some television stars, and never spoke poorly about costars, as others have. If he had gripes, he kept them politely to himself. The world has lost not just a television icon, but a well-rounded artist of film, theater, television, photography, voice, and print. Truly, he was someone who lived long – and prospered.


BOOK REVIEW: When Summer Comes By Brenda Novak

This is a beautifully written contemporary story of two strangers who meet in the middle of the night.  A cliche? Yes.  But, the story is anything but a cliche.  This is book three of the Whiskey Creek series.  It’s a little helpful to read them in order, but they can also stand alone.  Whiskey Creek is a wonderful, small town where most of the residents were born and raised there.  This series centers mainly on a group of high school friends now in their 30’s.

We are introduced to a professional photographer, Callie, who is in need of a liver transplant.  She has decided to keep her illness from family and friends and has moved from town to the farm of her late grandparents to sort out what’s left of her life.

Levi McCloud is a former martial arts champion and military vet now turn drifter.  His motorcycle breaks down not far from Callie’s farm.  While pushing the bike, he is viciously attacked by two dogs and seeks help at Callie’s door.

It was very interesting to watch these two characters’ relationship develop.  The author weaves a touching, emotional story about taking risks, forgiveness and letting your heart lead the way to a better life.  I thought I was going to encounter an overused, worn story line with predictable scenes, but instead was totally drawn into a dramatic, believable story that I just couldn’t put down.