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Published 2019 | Submitted
Journal Article Open

La vidéo et les origines de la photographie électronique


In our historical imagination, the recent digital revolution in photography can obscure an earlier revolution which was less total but more profound. This was the analogue revolution, the translation of images into continuously varying electrical signals and magnetic fields. Electronic analogue photography manifested as television and video, as well as technologies for recording still images like the Ampex Videofile of the 1960s and the Sony Mavica of the 1980s. Key components of these new technologies systems, including techniques for high-fidelity recording and vacuum tubes for video cameras, were first developed for military ends. Analogue electronics had this and much else in common with digital technologies, including the physical media on which they recorded. The deep transformation of photography in the last century, then, was not digitization but the replacement of photochemistry with electromagnetic media, analogue and digital alike.

Additional Information

A slightly different version of the article was published in print in a French translation. This is the original English text, lightly revised to incorporate editing which occurred in French.

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August 19, 2023
October 18, 2023