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Photographic Laboratory Workers


The first permanent photographs were taken in the early 19th century. In its early years, photography was limited mainly to professional technicians due to many factors; the size and awkwardness of early cameras and their accessories, the long exposure time required, and the complex process of developing photographic plates before chemical solutions dried up all made photography a complex and technical process. However, the Kodak camera, introduced in 1888 by George Eastman, brought photography within the reach of amateurs. This hand-held snapshot camera contained a roll of film capable of producing 100 negatives. After shooting the roll of film, people then shipped the camera with the exposed film back to Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, for processing.

Further technical developments in photography included the invention of celluloid-based film, light-sensitive photographic paper, and faster methods of developing film. Today, photography has become so popular that there are few U.S. households without at least one camera. Professional photographers are constantly experimenting with new ways of creating interesting pictures. While many professional photographers develop their own film in home darkrooms, the vast majority of amateur photographers bring their film to film centers, drugstores, or camera stores for development. Photographic laboratories have continued to expand their operations to serve this ever-increasing number of amateur photographers.

The introduction of digital cameras, which store images on the camera's internal computer chips, and mobile devices equipped with high-quality cameras, have brought photography to an even more accessible level. People can now shoot a picture, view it, and then decide whether or not to keep it in the memory of the camera or mobile device. This development, however, has not eliminated the need for photographic laboratory workers since many people still have prints made or enjoy the challenge and technical nature of taking photographs with conventional film.