The Wild and Dangerous History of Flash Photography

Photography has evolved from a labor-intensive craft to a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, thanks in part to technological advancements. One particularly fascinating aspect of this evolution is the history of flash photography, which introduced significant challenges and costs to capturing images in low-light conditions, with sometimes explosive results.

Coming to you from Technology Connections, this informative video takes a deep dive into the world of flash photography before the era of digital cameras and smartphones. The narrator begins by detailing the complexities and expenses associated with using flash in the days of film photography, highlighting the use of flashbulbs and the introduction of electronic flash units. These flash units, which could produce impressively bright light, were a marvel of their time but were initially too costly for the average consumer. The video also features a collaboration with a slow-motion expert to capture the explosive ignition of flashbulbs and flashcubes, providing a visually stunning and educational experience on how these devices work at a microscopic level.

The video offers a glimpse into the painstaking efforts that photographers once had to undertake to capture a moment in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. The slow-motion footage of flashbulbs and flashcubes igniting is not only fascinating to watch but also serves as a reminder of the relentless pursuit of innovation in photography and just how lucky we are to have the technology we do today. It's a fun and enlightening watch. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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1 Comment

I love this article. This said, the grimace on the cover picture almost made me skip it.