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Pop Chart Lab

100 History-Making Cameras on One Poster

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Pop Chart Lab

These days we take it for granted that we can capture a single moment with the click of a button. Photography hasn’t always been as simple as it is now, but it has arguably always been pretty awesome. To celebrate photography or, more accurately, the devices that make it possible, Pop Chart Lab has designed a stunning new poster that tracks the history of the camera from 1888 to today. The poster, called “A Visual Compendium of Cameras,” features hand-illustrated images of 100 different cameras that can be considered landmarks in the history of photography.

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The poster begins with the original 1888 Kodak camera, concludes with two new 2013 models, and depicts influential cameras from nearly every decade in between. According to Will Prince, Managing Editor at Pop Chart Lab, the selection process for the featured cameras was guided by three “i”s: They sought to include “cameras that were important to the evolution of photography, cameras that were interesting or weird, and finally cameras that have great cultural influence, be it through general iconography or ubiquity," he says.

Some cameras, like Kodak's Brownie and the first SLRs, were included because “they set the standard for new generations of photography and how people captured reality in still images," Prince says. "Certain devices, while not necessarily changing the mold of the medium, were so fun—[like in their] body design and quality of the developed picture—that they achieved almost cult followings in the tech world. This goes especially for plastic 'toy' cameras like the Diana F+ and the Lomography Action Sampler, whose lousy-but-awesome outputs are coveted by vintage-obsessed photography devotees."

The images on this poster can help us appreciate the advances photographic technology has made throughout these generations, to the point where we can now snap photos with our iPhones, a device that also made the list. “It's no secret that most photo-philes cringe when someone shows them an ‘almost professional’ shot taken on someone's phone," Prince says. "But there's also no denying the iPhone's influence—it's the world's most popular camera.”

While many of the cameras on this poster earned their place by being innovative and groundbreaking, a few nabbed their spots by simply being unique. The Minox Spy Camera, for example. "The Minox is evocative of Cold War espionage, all James Bond and pulp spy hero," Prince says. "The camera itself could be taped inside your collared shirt, the little protracted lens placed into one of your button holes. Probably really good for snapping secret documents and contraband."

Another interesting camera was the Graph-Check Sequence Machine. “[It] had eight little lenses and shutters, like the eyes of a bug," Prince says. "The shutters went off in sequence, capturing eight moments in time of a moving object. This would of course prefigure rapid-shot sequencing today, which can be done with a single lens instead of eight.”

If you are at all inclined towards loving photography, you should take the time to check out this assortment of cameras—“the cameras that changed the game, made it fun, and made it everyone's to play,” according to Prince.

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Courtesy of Nikon
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science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
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Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
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Art
‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]

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