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HomeContentsTimelines > 1880-1899

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1880North America • USAGeorge Eastman introduces Roll film for cameras.
1880North America • USA 
Steven Henry Horgan
A Scene in Shantytown, New York 
The first half-tone photograph is published in a newspaper, the New York Daily Graphic, it depicts a dilapidated shantytown. (4 March 1880)
1881North America • USA 
Scientific American 
1881, 24 September
In a rather macabre experiment the US Army blows the head off a mule to test if a 10 by 12 gelatino-bromide instantaneous Eastman dry plate can capture the explosion. It does and the official report appears in Annual Report of the Secretary of War for the Year 1882 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1882), vol. II, part 1, p. 448. (6 June 1881)
1882Europe • France 
Étienne Jules Marey
The photographic gun [Le Fusil photographique] 
French physiologist Étienne Jules Marey invents the chronophotographic gun, a camera shaped like a rifle that records twelve successive photographs per second.
1884Europe • Great BritainHenry Peach Robinson publishes Picture Making by Photography (London: Piper & Carter). This work goes through multiple editions and influences a generation of photographers in the creation of allegorical photographs of sugary sentimentality.
1884North America • USA 
B.D. Jackson
Cincinnati Flood, Smith Street, Looking South February 1884 
1884, February
The largest flood in 19th century America occurs when Ohio River rises 71.1 feet causing devastation and submerging parts of Cincinnati. The event is photographed by B.D. Jackson, J. Landy and others. (14 February 1884)
1886Europe • Great Britain 
Peter Henry Emerson
Gathering Water Lilies 
Peter Henry Emerson publishes Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads. [Read about]
1886Europe • France 
Paul Nadar
The First Photographic Interview 
1886, 8 September
Paul Nadar and Felix Tournachon carried out one of the first photo-interviews of the chemist M.E. Chevreul on his hundredth birthday and thirteen of the photographs were published in Le Journal Illustré on 5th September.
1887North America • USAJames Fairchild issued a US patent for "Apparatus for aerial photography". This used a clock mechanism to operate the shutter of a camera supported by a kite or a balloon. (8 February 1887)
1887GlobalCelluloid film becomes available
1888North America • USA 
Unidentified photographer/creator
Kodak No 1 camera 
Kodak No.1 box camera is marketed by George Eastman (Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co.) and popular amateur photography begins.
1888North America • USAFrederick Ives announces the invention of the crossline halftone screen. The halftone allows the mass reproduction of photographs in newspapers and magazines. Ives failed to patent the process and made no financial reward from his labors.
1888North America • USAGeorge Eastman patents his camera (U.S. patent No, 388,850). (4 September 1888)
1889Europe • Great Britain 
Peter Henry Emerson
Book review for P.H. Emerson "Naturalistic Photography" (New York: E. & F. Spon) 
1889, 8 June
Peter Henry Emerson publishes Naturalistic Photography for students of the art. (London, Sampson Low & Co.) that proposes photography should go outside the confines of the studio to record the natural world in an artistic style. His work on the everyday life in the Norfolk Broads in eastern England clearly shows his approach.
1889North America • USA 
George Barker
The Johnstown Calamity. Searching for bodies and clearing the wreck (Detail) 
The Johnstown Flood kills over 2,209 people in southwestern Pennsylvania when the South Fork Dam bursts. George Barker was one of those who photographed the aftermath. (31 May 1889)
1889Europe • ItalyFirst issue of the Bullettino della Societŕ Fotografica Italiana and it continues until December 1914. (October 1889)
1890North America • USA 
Jacob A. Riis
Book cover for Jacob August Riis "How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York" by Jacob A. Riis (Charles Schribners Publishers, 1890) 
Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives on the New York slums one of the first books of social commentary backed with photographic evidence. It includes seventeen halftone photographs and a further nineteen hand drawings based upon photographs. [Read about
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist 
How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (Penguin Classics) 
Jacob A. Riis; & Luc Sante (Introduction)
Click here to buy this book from Amazon
1890Europe • Great BritainPeter Henry Emerson publishes his bitter The death of Naturalistic Photography that argues that photography is a "very limited art" and repudiates his earlier work. [Read about]
1890North America • USAIllustrated American, the first picture magazine planned to use photographs, goes to press made possible by perfection of the halftone printing process.
Gabriel Lippmann
Professor Gabriel Lippmann introduces a color process but it never achieves popularity due to its complexity.

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