World Photography Day, also known as World Photo Day, is an annual celebration that takes place on August 19. It is a global celebration of the photography art form and its history.
A Brief History of Photography
Photography has evolved a lot over the years. Its origins are scientific, combining both chemistry and physics. One of the first revolutionary milestones for photography dates back to the Daguerreotype, an early photographic process developed in 1837 by Louis Daguerre, a French native.
The process was incredibly popular in the 1840s and 1850s and set a benchmark for photography as we know and love it today. It involved taking a piece of silver-plated copper, polishing it to a mirror-like finish, and finishing it with a light-sensitive coating. The surface would then be exposed to light using a camera, and later developed over mercury vapor. The result revealed a very crisp and detailed image.
It’s by no coincidence that World Photography Day is observed on August 19, as it was on this day in 1839 that Daguerre’s invention was officially publicized in Paris by the French Academy of Sciences. After purchasing the patent for the innovative process, the French government declared the invention of the Daguerreotype a free gift to the world.
From the more traditional portraits to a new reportage style of photography documenting WWII in 1939, photography and its approaches have evolved quickly over the past couple of centuries. For most, even the days of developing wet film in a darkroom are largely behind us since the digital age was introduced in the 1970s.
Nowadays almost everyone has quick access to a digital camera. Be it on a smartphone or an ultra-portable compact digital camera, you needn’t ever miss a shot when you’re out and about. As such, photography has become a truly unique medium for self-expression appreciated by many all over the world.
World Photography Day Activities
It’s common to see photography contests being held internationally on or around World Photography Day, to encourage amateurs and professionals alike to participate and submit their images in a global celebration of photography. Alternatively, many photographers simply choose to show their appreciation for the art by sharing their photos via social media using the hashtag #WorldPhotographyDay?.
You don’t just have to wait until August 19th to appreciate photography as exhibitions are held year-round. From displaying the work of notable photographers such as Ansel Adams, Yousef Karsh, Annie Leibovitz, Steve McCurry, and David Bailey, to the work of lesser-known local artists, there are often exhibitions honoring the timeless work of the talented individuals who captured them.
If you wish to further enhance your own photographic skills, there are a wide range of courses available online or in various academic institutes. There are also many photography clubs for like-minded amateurs to share and develop their love of the art together.