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The Importance and History of Photography

With World Photography Day coming up on August 19th, we wanted to celebrate everything photography and everything that surrounds it. From remembering some of those iconic photos and the photographers behind the images, to photo printing and gifts, keep reading to find out just how important photography is for each and every one of us.

Vintage Camera and film on minimalistic background

Who took the first photo?

In 1826 French scientist, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, took a picture of his country home, entitled View from the Window at Le Gras. That simple – and slightly blurry – image may look primitive by today’s standards but that’s not surprising, as it was the very first photograph ever taken.

Originally known as heliography, Niépce originally experimented with light sensitive substances to try and find ways to capture an image. Since that fateful day photography has become part of our lives, capturing precious and important moments in time in a way that can be preserved for posterity.

It was only eight years later that British inventor, Fox Talbot, took his first pictures, by placing objects on to paper brushed with light sensitive silver chloride and exposing it to sunlight.

How did photography begin?

If you wanted to go back a bit further, photography really started without a camera – or at least not a camera as we know it. The camera obscura consisted of a room or a box with a small hole where light enters and projects an upside down image on the wall opposite.

Camera obscura can be traced back as far as the times of Leonardo da Vinci, setting the foundations for the possibility of images being captured in a tangible way. These were all pivotal moments in the history of photography.

Since those early days, photography has become part of all of our lives from the most famous photos that are instantly recognisable to our very own personal memories that are captured on camera.

Lunch atop a Skyscraper frame with plant

What are some of the most famous photos?

The image of a sailor kissing a girl in New York’s Times Square taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt after news broke of the Japanese surrender in World War II is arguably one of the most famous photos. As well as that incredible photograph of a group of workers eating their lunch on a steel beam on a skyscraper – who hasn’t seen it?

Photographer Malcolm Browne captured an unforgettable moment in Saigon in 1963, when the monk Thich Quang Duc set fire to himself as a protest against the way the Vietnamese government discriminated against Buddhists.

One of the other images which ranks as one of the world’s most powerful was also taken in Vietnam, of a young girl fleeing her village after being torched by napalm. Called The Terror of War, the picture earned photographer Nick Ut a Pulitzer Prize for this remarkable and powerful shot – and saw him earn a spot as one of the most famous photographers in the world.

The famous “flying skirt” picture of Marilyn Monroe while making the movie The Seven Year Itch has passed into photography folklore, as has the memorable image of Neil Armstrong taking those first steps on the moon.

It is these images – and many more – which are celebrated on August 19 – World Photography Day. A day dedicated to the art, science and history of photography. It’s a chance not only to mark those most famous pictures that are recognised the world over, but to focus on your own very personal images and how you can present them in an enduring way.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

It was the advertising executive, Fred R Barnard, who uttered the immortal phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” and while few people may know his name, the sentiment he espoused has remained in popular culture.

What are the Benefits of Photos?

There are so many benefits of taking photos, with the main being you can capture memories to look back on in the future. Whether it’s to reminisce on your past, remember a loved one that’s no longer here, or look back at those beautiful places you’ve visited, a photo is like a frozen piece of time that you just can’t beat looking at time and time again.

Photo Printing

The days when your only option for photographs was to watch them go yellow with age in a dog eared album are now long gone. There are so many exciting options which can ensure pictures are given a long life span but can also be presented in a whole host of unique and imaginative ways.

Photo poster printing is a fantastic way to display images to maximum effect. Here at WTTB, we offer photo printing in a wide range of sizes. Whether you’re looking for large photo printing, or something on a smaller scale, simply pick a size and a finish and you’ve got a piece of ready-made art at a pocket friendly price.

Remember the image of the workers on the scaffolding mentioned above? It may be a decades old photo, but it is reproduced time and time again because it makes such a perfect piece of decorative art.

Having hundreds of images in the cloud or on your device is fine to flick through, but it’s not really offering the pleasure that photography can bring. Using images to create a picture wall in an office or a home can really add some flair and make it unique – a cost effective way to add some style.

Open photobook showing woman in a beautiful landscape and balloons

Photo Gifts

Preserving a moment in time for someone else can be turned into something precious – so if you’re asking yourself ‘is a framed photo a good gift?’ the answer is most definitely yes. Taking the time and trouble to get a high quality print and then fitting into a smart frame will make it look expensive and will be appreciated.

Creating a photobook is also a fantastic way to have those special images put together in a way that will make them last. It may be bringing together all of the images that guests have captured on a wedding day, a way to honour and remember a loved one or charting a child’s progress over the years.

Images can be used to create your very own gallery at home, for a workplace or actually FOR a gallery itself.

It may be world photo day in August but you certainly don’t have to wait until then – in fact any day is good to make your life picture perfect!


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