The Digital Photograph Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

Posted by Richard Lippert on

So you thought digital photographs were a relatively new arrival that swept in as we began the 21st century?

Well, guess again. The first digital photograph was produced in 1957 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Nearly One of Every Four

As 2017 begins, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are about 323,219,500 individuals in the United States. Of those, nearly 75 million of them are 18 years old, or younger.

That's 23% of the population of today's population can’t remember our country ever being protected by anything but planes able to stealth, living without phone technology that is isn't always available in your pocket, getting around using maps printed on paper, or recording a favorite show with something called a VHS tape!

It also means nearly one-quarter of the U.S. only have a concept of recording precious memories using digital photography, primarily with their smart phone. In fact, throughout the entire world of 7.5 billion people, there about 4 billion of the world’s inhabitants with mobile phone equipment having a built-in camera.

3 to 5 Times All the Photos Ever Taken In Just 1 Year

Mylio – the memory organizer company, recently estimated if all 4 billion mobile phone users took just ten photos per day in 2017, there would more than 14 trillion photos taken in just a single year! Compare that to the fact Kodak estimated there were only 3-5 trillion photographs ever taken throughout the world as photos printed on paper or slides.

Find all this hard to believe?

Well, consider that in 2016, there were about 1.8 billion users of Facebook. This group alone averaged posting 300 million photos into their accounts each day totaling nearly 110 billion photos placed up into just Facebook last year alone. And these are only pictures someone wanted to share with others!

It All Began With a Baby’s Picture

The first digital image made on a computer in 1957 showed researcher Russell Kirsch's baby son. Credit: NISTRussell Kirsch was working at the National Bureau of Standards in 1957. His job was working with the first computer that could be programmed. Kirsch’s curiosity of harnessing this newly found computing power to look at photographs earned him the distinction of creating one of the 100 photographs that changed the world.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce; “Russell Kirsch asked ‘What would happen if computers could look at pictures?’ and helped start a revolution in information technology. Kirsch and his colleagues at NBS, who had developed the nation's first programmable computer, the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC), created a rotating drum scanner and programming that allowed images to be fed into it. The first image scanned was a head-and-shoulders shot of Kirsch's three-month-old son Walden.”

“The ghostlike black-and-white photo only measured 176 pixels on a side—a far cry from today's megapixel digital snapshots—but it would become the Adam and Eve for all computer imaging to follow,” the NIST proclaimed at the Golden Anniversary of the first digital image’s creation in 2007.

60 Years Later It Is Time to Digitize Your Family’s Photos

Now, after six decades since Russell’s Kirsch’s baby son’s photograph was transformed into a digital photograph, it is time to for families around the globe to gather up all their printed photos or slides and convert them into digital images. Technologies like the professional Kodak Picture Saver Scanner or SlideSnap Slide Scanner make it possible to transform any collection into high-quality digital photos. Their high-speed means you can digitize your entire collection of thousands of pictures quickly and easily.

Want someone to help you through the process? Check out the Association of Personal Photo Organizers, a group of independent professionals who will come alongside to work with you in converting your collection.

To learn more about how to buy or rent one the professional scanners to transform your analog photos into digital treasures as a DYI project, connect with an E-Z Photo Scan digital imaging specialist.


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