Long before the hail of the digital age, photographs and films played a vital role in shaping history. Up to this day, some of the factors that built photography and film processing are still evident. It surely did influence not only the media but as well as how people view the world.

It might be hard to picture how people lived with facts and news that was addressed solely on televisions and newsprints. No other way to check and do your research about a certain issue, only the media to back it up. It’s as if people had no choice but to digest what they’ve been presented and that’s it. 

It’s up to them how they interpret it and if they choose to believe it or not. For us to have an overview of how important films and prints were before, let’s discuss how they provided and served information to the masses before the digital age. 


The newspaper served as their feed for the latest world updates

Ever wonder how long the newspaper has been around? Just about 331 years ago. Not much of a shocker, right? Imagine, the newspaper served as the Google of so many people for so many decades, way back in 1690.

The first-ever newspaper did not even have any photos on it. Just a paper printed with texts and information. No professional photo printing was done, just a simple press print to distribute and sell to the people.

During the early stages of the introduction of newspapers, its sole purpose was to educate and inform. Nothing more and nothing less. Despite it being a paper full of only texts, it was a vital instrument that opened people to issues and reforms that shaped history.


Photographs in newspapers

It was only in the 1880s when the newspaper press produced a paper with a photograph on it. Research says that it wasn’t done by photo printing shops nor any film processing took place. It was done through photomechanical printing. 

Since then, newspapers started to serve as one of the most important sources of news and also entertainment for the people. With the introduction of photographs in the newspaper, people get to have a better idea of how to interpret other matters. 

For decades, the newspaper helped so many people who did not have access to education. Even before it was just a paper full of printed text, it has always been an educational tool. Since free education only became available in the 1870s, newspapers served as people’s backbone and source of knowledge at the reach of their hands. 

More importantly, the addition of photographs helped those who did not have access to education to be informed about important matters. This is very vital and influential since people who can’t afford education were looked down on and disregarded by society.


Photography was deemed as a luxury that sparked creativity and entertainment

The art of photography started in the 1830s. Way before film processing and professional photo printing shops, a photographer from France named Joseph Niepce produced a photograph that did not fade instantly. 

Then, as years passed by, they were able to develop better tools for photography that can be printed through film processing. Hail and behold led to the birth of polaroid cameras, which spiked the interest of people in picture-taking. 

The history of photography was long, but one thing makes it very interesting. There was a time when owning a camera was deemed a luxury. It was when they introduce a new invention and when they publicise new camera models. Professional photo printing shops were indeed at the precipice during those days. 

It wasn’t long until film camera’s films were sold at an affordable price that made them accessible to the masses. Of course, polaroids became a hit. The ‘you no longer have to go through film processing to have your hands on those shots’ appealed so much to the public. 


How it was utilised

Just like film cameras, polaroid cameras were used by organisations for educational and discovery purposes as well. It wasn’t only utilised for documentation and invention, but cameras also gave birth to the film industry.

With the birth and high of photography, people were able to invent one for films. Without the long history of film cameras and instant shots, film production and media advertising could have never existed. Or if it did, where could the film industry be now if it was produced without the discovery of photography first?


Curated marketing ads shaped how people view capitalism, media, and artists

The printing press was invented in the early 15th century. Just like how the newspaper started, printed ads were pure paper and texts. No photos and no professional photo printing aids were made. 

The first printed ad found was dated back to 1472 by William Caxton. This is even older than the first-ever published newspaper that we know of. The first printed ad was a bill shaped advertisement for a book. The said ad was found posted in public areas such as church doors in England.

It was only in 1835 that the advertising industry published a full-coloured ad with pictures in it. It wasn’t even a real photograph, but instead a drawing. 


Films and television ads

Can you imagine what it would be like to produce a film or television commercial without the cameras, computers, applications and equipment that are being used today? I can, and boy it must be hard! 

Of course, people at that time were able to do so thanks to their creativity, passion and knowledge. Without their courage and passion, the greatest films of all time could have never been made. Without the early stages of film processing, the ads and films that influenced the rise of capitalism could have never been produced. 

The first-ever television ad lasted for no longer than 10 seconds. Yet, it roared and influenced other brands to produce their own and to step up their marketing game. 


The impact of media and brand advertising 

With the rise of television ads, brands started to curate storylines to sell their products in the best way that they could. Trends and fads started and influenced how consumers buy. More importantly, ads influenced the fashion industry.

Artists and models who advertised certain brands were looked up to and served as an icon to the people. Even until now, the media and marketing ads effectively influences and touches the emotions of the market. 


Up to this day, they’re as relevant as they used to be, even a little greater

Now that we’re in the high of technology, films and ads are only getting better. Better at production, advertising, and influencing how people view and live life. 

Moving forward, we can only expect it to be better and greater. It’s safe to say that the photography and film industry has come a long way. We can also bet that this is just the beginning of the digital age. 

So much more improvements and tech innovations will be unfolded that’ll surely make photography and film production better if not yet the best. 


About the author: 

Bianca Banda is a writer for DS Colour Labs Ltd (DSCL), a professional photography lab that offers a vast range of products and services to aid every photographer’s need. She is a massive lover of Japanese cuisine and enjoys binge-watching comedies or variety shows.



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