On Proto-Photography and the Shroud of Turin

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It seems generally agreed by historians of science and technology that photography is a procedure that could have been invented much earlier than the period when (to the best of our knowledge) it actually was. The essential prerequisites, both photochemical and optical, for a primitive accomplishment of the photographic effect were available at least three hundred years (some claim six hundred years) before the early nineteenth century, when the orthodox, documented history of photographic practice finds its beginnings. If magically transported back to the sixteenth century, many readers would be able to find the resources to set up then as photographers — of a sort. It is not surprising, therefore, that anachronistic claims are occasionally put forward for the ‘pre-invention’ of photography.


Mike Ware | History of Photography

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