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Photo Fun Facts

By Christian Roemer

Photography was, for all intents and purposes, invented in the 1800s. Sure, some people accidentally made crude photos before then, but really, photography started in the 19th century. What started out as painstaking affairs of sitting still for minutes while a camera captured a single photo, eventually morphed into folks producing scores of pictures with the swipe of a finger in seconds.

Photography has changed immensely in the past 150 years.
With such a short, yet varied history, you can be sure there are lots of strange developments that have happened over the years. From long-exposure to macro, photography has seen some awesome--and weird--changes over the years.


Here are some of my favorite nuggets of strangeness:

The World’s Largest Camera Is

The size of a small car! That’s right, a 3.2 gigapixel camera that will live in Chile is the largest camera on earth. Its purpose is to photograph the night sky. For reference 1 gigapixel is 1000 megapixels. That means its resolution is about 290 times bigger than the average cell phone.

The World’s Smallest Camera Is…

The OmniVision OV6948. This ridiculously small camera is made for a very specific purpose: surgeries! It’s about the size of a grain of sand, and surgeons use it to image the inside of folks when they’re getting sliced and diced.

The Biggest Photo Ever Taken Is…

A picture of a mountain. I know, that sounds a little anticlimactic, but it’s true. Showing the magnificence of France’s largest mountain, Mont Blanc, the largest photo ever is 365 gigapixels. It took two months to make the photo, and if you printed it out at a standard 300 DPI resolution, it would be the size of a football field!

The Longest Exposure Ever Is…

34 months! In an artwork commissioned by MoMa, a German artist left 8 cameras rolling for almost three years. The result is a pretty awesome, yet eerie, creation of the famous museum’s destruction and rebuild. So cool!

The FIrst Picture Ever Taken Was Of…

town in France. Geeze, why are the French hogging all of the spotlight? While this photo might not be the first ever picture taken, it’s the only evidence we have of being a first photograph, so it might as well. If nothing else, it can be number one in our hearts. The photograph itself is nothing spectacular, in my opinion, but maybe I’m just being an overly harsh critic.

The Most Expensive Picture Ever Taken Was…

A picture of some light in a canyon. Taken in one of the most traveled slot canyons in the world, Phantom was sold for a staggering $6.5 million. Nowadays on Instagram, that same picture is a dime a dozen, but I guess it pays to be the first!

Christian’s Personal Favorite Photo Is…

This long exposure taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. There may be no other photo ever taken that better shows how huge our universe actually is. Scientists pointed Hubble at a small patch of night sky and left the camera rolling. What they found surprised everyone. Galaxies filled the whole frame. Each galaxy holds billions of stars. This picture is incredible!

The Amount of Photos Taken Every Second Is…

Kind of hard to figure out, but it’s a lot. According to 2017 data, folks took 1.7 trillion photographs. If we assume that figure is close to correct, and then we do a little bit of math, the number comes out to about 53,000 pictures per second. What are people even photographing at this point?!

Photos have changed the way that humans see and interact with the world. From cameras with important jobs like the OmniVision OV6948 to pictures like the Hubble Deep Field, we see our world in ways that previous humans couldn’t have ever imagined. The crazy thing to keep in mind is that photography is a relatively new invention. We’ve only been taking pictures for a small portion of our history.

Imagine the things we’ll capture in photographs in the next 100 years!

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