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Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

100 History-Making Cameras on One Poster

Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

These days we take it for granted that we can capture a single moment with the click of a button. Photography hasn’t always been as simple as it is now, but it has arguably always been pretty awesome. To celebrate photography or, more accurately, the devices that make it possible, Pop Chart Lab has designed a stunning new poster that tracks the history of the camera from 1888 to today. The poster, called “A Visual Compendium of Cameras,” features hand-illustrated images of 100 different cameras that can be considered landmarks in the history of photography.


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The poster begins with the original 1888 Kodak camera, concludes with two new 2013 models, and depicts influential cameras from nearly every decade in between. According to Will Prince, Managing Editor at Pop Chart Lab, the selection process for the featured cameras was guided by three “i”s: They sought to include “cameras that were important to the evolution of photography, cameras that were interesting or weird, and finally cameras that have great cultural influence, be it through general iconography or ubiquity," he says.

Some cameras, like Kodak's Brownie and the first SLRs, were included because “they set the standard for new generations of photography and how people captured reality in still images," Prince says. "Certain devices, while not necessarily changing the mold of the medium, were so fun—[like in their] body design and quality of the developed picture—that they achieved almost cult followings in the tech world. This goes especially for plastic 'toy' cameras like the Diana F+ and the Lomography Action Sampler, whose lousy-but-awesome outputs are coveted by vintage-obsessed photography devotees."

The images on this poster can help us appreciate the advances photographic technology has made throughout these generations, to the point where we can now snap photos with our iPhones, a device that also made the list. “It's no secret that most photo-philes cringe when someone shows them an ‘almost professional’ shot taken on someone's phone," Prince says. "But there's also no denying the iPhone's influence—it's the world's most popular camera.”

While many of the cameras on this poster earned their place by being innovative and groundbreaking, a few nabbed their spots by simply being unique. The Minox Spy Camera, for example. "The Minox is evocative of Cold War espionage, all James Bond and pulp spy hero," Prince says. "The camera itself could be taped inside your collared shirt, the little protracted lens placed into one of your button holes. Probably really good for snapping secret documents and contraband."

Another interesting camera was the Graph-Check Sequence Machine. “[It] had eight little lenses and shutters, like the eyes of a bug," Prince says. "The shutters went off in sequence, capturing eight moments in time of a moving object. This would of course prefigure rapid-shot sequencing today, which can be done with a single lens instead of eight.”

If you are at all inclined towards loving photography, you should take the time to check out this assortment of cameras—“the cameras that changed the game, made it fun, and made it everyone's to play,” according to Prince.

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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