5 Interesting and mysterious facts about photography

5 Interesting and mysterious facts about photography

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Mystery, photography and otherworld

If you think that there is nothing interesting about photography – you are wrong. Well, there are 5 interesting and mysterious facts about photography.

1. Silver, mirror and soul: interesting and mysterious fact about photography

Is there a something mystical in photography? At first look – nothing. But… There is an interesting thing: Native Americans (American Indians) used to avoid being photographed. They believed that photograph took away their souls. So, you may think this is curiously enough. What is the reason of the superstition?

Using Daguerreotype (which is one of the first photographic processes) they used silver-plated photographic plates. And final images looked like reflection in a mirror, not like modern photographs. A photograph was consisted of an amalgam formed by the interaction of silver and mercury. So daguerreotype was often called “Mirror with a Memory”. Depending on the angle of view on the plate, daguerreotype can look like a negative or a positive, creating an illusion of a real vision.

Well, actually it reminds me one interesting thing. Ancient mirrors were plated with silver amalgam on the reverse side. And people believed that ghosts and spirits can be reflected by those silver-plated mirrors. Maybe you have seen in horror movies how a character is performing a séance or calling Bloody Mary, he often uses an antic mirror. In addition, psychics use that mirrors too.

And finally: collodion wet plate process, which followed next to daguerreotype, is famous not only for high quality, but also something “mysterious” in a final picture. The reason is why – the collodion process works only with the ultraviolet spectrum, so a photograph really shows an image that we can not see with our eyes. Photographers use the collodion process in our time, they say “a photograph can look into your soul and show another world” because of using ultraviolet spectrum.

Jacqueline Roberts

2. Take a picture on a matchbox?

Without any problem! You can make the simplest camera in 5 minutes. It is called “Pinhole“, but in fact this is Сamera obscūra. A hole is made in the box with a needle, the film is tucked in from the opposite side, the “shutter speed” is adjusted by you – with your finger.

5 interesting and mysterious facts about photography
Kenneth Leishman

Pinhole allows you to get such strange, unusual “dreamy” photos. Many people still make those cameras because they don’t need to spend much money. A camera like this doesn’t have any optical distortion, and it has an infinite depth of field, so all objects are always in focus.

You can try such it, and not necessarily with a film, for a digital camera it is enough to use a black cardboard with a small hole instead of a lens, some people just make a hole in a front body cup. But pinhole lenses are also in the market. Such pictures look really mysterious!

3. Shutter speed in one year

What shutter speed do you prefer? 15 seconds, 30? How about one year? Yes, your digital camera can not do it so long. Michel Chrisman photographed Toronto with a pinhole camera, which is simply a black box. Instead of film he used a photo paper with low sensitivity. But with using this photo paper he was able to apply shutter speed in one year. You can think that you see night in the photograph, but it is not. The lines in the sky are prints of the moving Sun, as this style is called “solargraphy”.

5 interesting and mysterious facts about photography
SOLARIGRAFIA 160 days of exposure Photography by Ksawery Wrobel https://www.artlimited.net/ksawerywrobel

4. Photographing a bullet

How about Ultrafast Shutter Speed? How to photograph a bullet flying with speed which more than sound? It is obvious that standard shutter speed can not help with this, it is too slow for that purpose.

An Interesting fact, one of the first photograph of a flying bullet was shot on a special flash with very short pulse. It is not our familiar xenon flash (unfortunately it is slow too). At voltages of tens of thousands of volts, there is a kind of artificial lightning, the flash time of which can be literally microseconds, so it acts as an illuminator.

This type of flash was already known in the XIX century, even Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, experimented with a Leyden jar and made the first photo illuminated by a spark discharge. Air-gap flashes are used to this day to capture very fast processes.

5. Postmortem: mysterious fact about photography

Why did people take photograph the dead in XIX-XX century? I do not know anything more mystical, scary and sad than postmortem photography. The nineteenth century left us a lot of incredible things, including sad and sentimental mourning fashion. Diseases, epidemics, low levels of medicine, as well as drug addiction (remember the opium dens in the movies) mowed down a lot of people. Both children and adults. Children died from illnesses, then adults, often from addictions… Not really. In those times, addictions harmed children as well. On sale were such things as “Children Silence” or “Soothing Syrup”, which contained morphine, were actively selling until 1930 (well, creepy!).

The average life expectancy was not more than 40 years. Families mourned, wanted to leave a memory of a beloved relative, and photographed him… Sometimes pretending that he (the deceased) was still alive, sometimes they captured the mourning of the family at the coffin of the deceased. Such photos were especially proudly placed in the house to show to guests.

Fading Away (1858) 
Henry Peach Robinson (British, Ludlow, Shropshire 1830–1901 Tunbridge Wells, Kent)

So, there were 5 interesting and mysterious facts about photography.

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