Eight Photographers You Need to Know Before Taking Photography Courses in Melbourne

Eight Photographers You Need to Know Before Taking Photography Courses in Melbourne

Sam Bowden

With nearly everyone having a phone camera in their pocket or a DSLR on the shelf, photography courses in Melbourne have never captured such mass popularity. The more accessible the technology becomes, the more prevalent it is in everyday life. 

Once reserved for the wealthy and technically gifted, smartphone photography is now the leading style of photography around the world, with over 1.2 trillion photos captured on phone in 2017. Before there was iPhone photography and fancy Nikon DSLR cameras, taking photos was an annoyingly complicated and expensive process. Many people associate the birth of photography with the mid-eighteenth century, but its origins lie almost four-hundred years prior to the renaissance. 

So before you go diving into the range of amazing photography workshops available, here’s a little guide to people you can thank for making photography one of the cool things to do in Melbourne.


Alhazen - The original ancient cameraman

Islamic scientist Alhazen is credited with capturing the world’s first image with the invention of the Camera Obscura in the 11th century. Although never going to a digital photography school, Alhazen found that light travelling through a pin-sized aperture (fancy word for tiny, tiny hole) into a dark room would project an inverted image onto the wall of what lay on the other side of the aperture. 

He released a seven-volume account of his theory on light, optics, and visual perception in his widely regarded Book of Optics. Although undoubtedly a very dry read, this body of work is also heralded as the basis for our understanding of how glass lenses work and were sited for centuries to follow by scholars all over Europe. No Alhazen? No Ray-Bans. He also theorised the damming of the Nile but was wrongfully imprisoned by the unstable Egyptian ruler. History has proven Alhazen a genius, however, and his research started the world’s fascination with image capturing. Unfortunately, he doesn’t teach any photography courses in Melbourne, but that’s only because he’s been uncontactable for close to a thousand years. 


Johann Zahn - Successfully unsuccessful

The first evolution of what we know as the camera was invented by German scientist Johann Zahn. it was small and portable, but completely useless. It didn’t work at all, and if you showed up to a beginners photography course with one you would be asked to explain why your wooden shoebox didn’t require film or take any photos. Still, he’s credited with the initial design.  


Joseph Nicéphore Niépce - The first actual photographer

Niepce, a notable French inventor, is not only credited for founding the science of photography but taking Zahn’s portable and completely unusable camera and giving it life! Before this, however, he’d perfected the new science of lithography, whereby a work of art was exposed to a light source and a plate was put underneath, causing its exposure to both light to replicate onto the plate. This involved a very complicated chemical process, but it wasn’t long before Niepce created the first official photograph in 1822, using his newfound technique dubbed Heliography, or sun drawing. 

Although this was subsequently destroyed when he attempted to make copies, he’s still the creator of the oldest photograph in existence, capturing it in 1826 with his Camera Obscura based off Zahn’s designs. He also invented the first internal combustion engine, so give him a shoutout next time you open the camera settings on your smartphone or start your car. Alfonso’s Photography Tours make the process a lot easier than Niepce’s, so you and your camera can snap up the Carlton Gardens without having to use any dangerous chemicals.


James Clerk Maxwell - Colourful chap

Niepce’s invention spawned the beginning of the photographic process, but it wasn’t until 1861 that Scottish inventor James Clerk Maxwell captured the first colour photograph of a tartan ribbon. You’d think he’d pick something a little bit more exciting, although for the time this was some truly face-melting technology. Although ClassBento doesn’t offer a ribbon photography class, you can snap up the colourful characters of Fairfield Gardens in our Inspiring Portraits Photography Class. 


George Eastman - The Kodak man

Does the word Kodak mean anything to you? Eastman’s legendary photography company started in the late 1800’s when he invented the first portable camera that used film roll! Not only did it include enough celluloid film to capture 100 exposures, but it was also the first camera that was cheap enough for the average consumer. 

Although hand-held, it was still rather cumbersome and was close to impossible to take a selfie with due to the two hands required to work the photographic mechanism. Selfies are an essential when you tour famous Melbourne attractions, so as long as you don’t have a smartphone, iPhone photography is the way to go.


Ernst Leitz - Leitz be honest, he nailed it

Leitz and his company Leica took Kodak’s box camera and brought it into the 20th century with the invention of the Leica Camera in the 1920s. Widely regarded as the first modern-day camera as it used a smaller 35mm film, it has now become synonymous with classic, old-school photography. What’s more astounding is that Leica are still manufacturing the same style of camera, now in its 240th evolution. This camera is ideal for snapping up the beauty of Melbourne’s laneways, and although Leitz is now taking photos from beyond the grave, he’d be giving you his snap of approval as you traverse the city in one of our photography courses.


Steven Sasson - Digital genius

Employed by Kodak, Steven Sasson offered up the world’s first digital camera in 1975! It took 23 seconds to record a photo onto a cassette tape but nonetheless, it was a digitalised process. Many developments in photography occurred between the Leica camera and Sasson’s futuristic invention - most notably Nikon’s slow but inevitable domination of the camera market - but the camera as we know it today is thanks to the vision of good ol’ sassy Steven Sasson. ClassBento wouldn’t be able to offer digital photography workshops without him. 


Phillipe Kahn - Photo father of the year

Kahn is the unsung hero of smartphone photography because although you’ve never heard of him, he’s credited with the invention of the camera phone in 1997. With the birth of his daughter, Kahn was looking for a way to instantly capture photos and send them to a web server he’d been developing over 12 months. After seeing his new daughter, he jury-rigged a connection between his camera and his phone in an attempt to send them to the server. It worked instantaneously, and on the day Kahn became a father, he also invented the camera phone. What a legend. 


Cameras have come in leaps and bounds since Phillipe Kahn’s day, but we shutter to think (best camera pun ever) where we’d be without them. Thanks to their combined efforts, ClassBento is able to offer a unique array of Photography courses in Melbourne that cover a multitude of styles and techniques. From smartphone photography classes to traversing Melbourne’s CBD with our Day and Night workshop, Alhazen and co. did the heavy lifting so you could just sit back, relax, and snap away.


Other stories by Sam Bowden

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