World Photography Day 2021: Origin, Theme and Why we celebrate the day

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August 19, 2021 5:43 PM

On August 19, 1839 the French government bought the patent for the device by paying the inventors and made it freely available for use around the world.

The day also lays emphasis on the importance of cameras and photography in our personal lives by documenting memorable lifetime events of our lives on pixels.

World Photography Day 2021: Transcending the boundaries of language, photography is a medium that has a universal value. While there is a constant debate on the question whether photography is an art or a personal collection of memories, the indispensable role played by photography in documenting history and storing memories for posterity is incredible. Initially photography was taken to be an absolute objective medium of recording the “truth”, however the cloak of objectivity soon lost its sheen as intellectuals proved that just like every medium photography was equally prone to manipulation, schemes and machinations of the person clicking the picture.

Every year on 19 August, when we celebrate World Photography Day, we get an opportunity to discuss such conflicting ideas associated with the medium and remember the positive contribution of the medium towards making our world a better place. The day also lays emphasis on the importance of cameras and photography in our personal lives by documenting memorable lifetime events of our lives on pixels.

Origin of World Photography Day
So far as the origin of the medium goes, it can be traced to 1837 when French Joseph Nicephore Niepce and Louis Daguerre invented the daguerreotype, the first-ever photographic process. Two years later in the year 1839, the French Academy of Sciences officially proclaimed to the world the invention of the daguerreotype. The then French government is also understood to have bought the patent for the device by paying the inventors and made it freely available for use around the world on August 19, 1839. From that day, August 19 came to be celebrated as the World Photography Day. Initially the celebrations focused on the invention and marvel of photography but decades later, the day started getting celebrated to remember the major photographers who made the medium an art through their work and contributions of photography to our lives.

With the invention of digital photography in the mid 20th century and cheap camera phones, the medium has come a long way from being the possession of the ultra-rich to being a democratised medium available to everyone.

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