10 Fun Photography Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Photography Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Photography is a great pastime and passion for many people, and it has a rich history and a bright future. Here are some of the most interesting photography facts that you may not know. 

10 Fun Photography Facts

1. Kodak Doesn’t Mean Anything

Whether you are into the photography world or not, most everyone has heard the name Kodak and knows its relation to photography. Little to most people know, the actual word doesn’t mean anything.

This is quite the opposite of many of the big names in the industry. For example, Olympus is the home of the Greek gods, and Canon means a rule, law, or principle. 

Kodak Doesn’t Mean Anything

George Eastman, who was the founder of Kodak, created the name because he liked the sound of the letter K. When asked, he said the letter K sounded strong and created a word around it. 

2. The Oldest Surviving Photograph is Almost 200 Years Old

Many people are probably unaware that camera and photograph technology has been around for that long, but it has! Not only was this picture taken almost 200 years ago, but it also took nearly 8 hours to capture. 

This famous photo is named “View From the Window” and was captured by Joseph Niepce in France.

The Oldest Surviving Photograph

To get this photograph, a projected image from a window hit a sensitized plate, which they then used to put the image on paper. A lot of work for a simple picture, but quite a piece of history!

3. The First Color Photograph Was Taken in 1861

The very first color photograph was taken over 150 years ago, and we have come a long way since then. It was taken by layering three separate filters of red, blue, and green, and then projecting the images onto a photosensitive plate. 

Inventor and photographer Thomas Sutton was the one who came up with this process, and he is also credited for being the inventor of the first SLR camera. 

First Color Photograph

On top of those accomplishments, he is also the one who came up with eh earliest panoramic camera with a wide angle lens back in 1859.

4. The World’s Most Expensive Camera Sold for $2,700,000

One of the world’s oldest cameras also happens to be the world’s most expensive, setting the record at auction in Vienna. 

The camera, an ultra-rare Leica 0-series no. 122, is believed to be only one of three in original condition in the world. Only 25 of these cameras were ever made. 

Leica 0-series no. 122
Leica 0-series no. 122

A collector from Asia is the one who bought the camera and crushed the old record for the most expensive camera previously set in 2012 of 2.16 million dollars. 

5. The World’s Most Expensive Photograph Sold for $4.3 million.

Speaking of the world’s most expensive camera, let’s talk about the world’s most expensive photograph. It was captured by Andreas Gursky in 1999, and the photograph is named “Rhein II.”

In 2011, 12 years after it was taken, this photograph sold for the mind-boggling amount of $4,338,500 at auction. While there are claims that other photographs have been sold for more, there are no documents or evidence of these sales. 

 Andreas Gursky “Rhein II”
©Andreas Gursky – Rhein II

This makes “Rhein II” the most expensive photograph ever sold, with the evidence to prove it. 

6. Every Two Minutes, We Take More Pictures Than All of Humanity Did In The Entire 1800s.

This one may not surprise some people, while others its a fact they may wish they didn’t know. Every 2 minutes we as humans capture more images than we ever did in history. Pretty cool right?

10 Fun Photography Facts You Probably Didn’t Know 1

Experts estimate that leading up to the first commercial camera, only a few million images were taken. In 1999, Kodak issued a report that said we had collectively taken around 80 billion images as humans.

Estimates today say that we share around 730 billion images a year on Facebook alone, and 255 billion on WhatsApp and 22 billion photos were shared on Instagram. We sure have come a long way!

7. The Most Viewed Photograph in History is a Stock Photo

There might be many beautiful photographs that come to mind when thinking of the most viewed images in all of history, but it might surprise you to learn that the record actually belongs to the default wallpaper for Microsoft XP.

The image, named “Bliss”, was captured by photographer Charles O’Rear in 1996 and depicts a beautiful grassy hill with bright blue skies. 

Microsoft XP Walpaper
Microsoft XP Wallpaper

Microsoft actually bought this image from a stock photo site called Corbis and Charles O’Rear didn’t make a whole lot of money for it despite its record.

8. The Cameras That Took the First Photos of the Surface of the Moon Are Still There

During the first landing of man on the moon, 12 Hasselblad cameras were taken and used to capture the first images of the surface of our moon. While we have since progressed in technology and have much better images and video of our moon, these photos mark an important landmark in space exploration.

10 Fun Photography Facts You Probably Didn’t Know 2
Hasselblad Moon Camera

These cameras were left, however, in order to save weight on the journey home. The extra weight was to carry back lunar rock samples, and the cameras are still up there to this day.

9. Why Did People Never Smile In Old Photographs?

While some may think it was just a trend for people to not smile in old photographs, that’s not actually the case. Old photos were taken with giant format cameras, that would often take hours to expose properly.

Related: Best Landscape Photographers Working Today

This means that subjects had to hold still for quite some time. Try keeping a smile for hours on end; it is easy to see why smiling was not popular back then.

Why Did People Never Smile In Old Photographs?

Sometimes, even head braces were used for support since the subjects had to wait so long for a photo. Knowing this, it’s quite surprising how well most of these photographs turned out!

10. The Photographer of the Saddest Photo of All Time Committed Suicide

Considered by most to be the saddest photograph of all time, the picture is that of a vulture stalking a starving child in Africa. A grim photo that quickly gained popularity, it shows Africa’s cruel reality of hunger and famine problems.

1. The Photographer of the Saddest Photo of All Time Committed Suicide
©Kevin Carter

The image was captured by photographer Kevin Carter from Johannesburg, South Africa. Despite winning the Pulitzer Prize for the photograph, he was deeply disturbed by all of the sad realities he captured with his camera that he committed suicide at the age of 33. 

Photography Facts | Conclusion

That were 10 Photography facts you probably didn’t know. Hopefully, you learned something new and fun that will help to fuel your passion for the art of photography.

Articles Related to “10 Fun Photography Facts You Probably Didn’t Know“

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.