The origins of the modern camera predate the birth of photography by over a thousand years. It can be traced back to the Ancient Chinese and Greeks both of whom used the camera obscura to project images into large, dark chambers that people could enter. Once inside they were treated to a magical and fabulous display: the outside world projected upside down and backward on the wall opposing the aperture.
A number of important historical thinkers have examined and written about the device: Aristotle, Alhazen, Freiberg, Descarte, Kepler and many others. Notably, in the 13th Century English philosopher and Franciscan friar Roger Bacon published his work Perspectiva. Here he shared his belief that the devil was responsible for the function of the mystical device−a truly dark magic. A few hundred years later, however, Sir Isaac Newton published his ground-breaking work Opticks (1704) and demonstrated that the responsibility for the devices function, simply and far less sensationally, is due to the laws of physics and the rectilinear propagation of light, which simply means that under normal circumstances light travels in a straight line. This concept makes photography possible. Debatably, no device has changed more significantly over the course of photographic evolution than the camera. What began as a simple light tight box with an aperture at one end and an apparatus to collect light—sensitized paper, polished silver, glass plates or finally film—at the other is now a complex array of circuit boards, wires and computer parts all stuffed into increasingly smaller and smaller packages.