There are approximately 1.8 billion photographs shared on the internet each day. These photographs turn moments into memories, they sell products and they promote services. With the way technology is moving it is becoming a common questions as to how a camera really works. How do those images that we see get captured and turned into something that can be shared with others?
Looking around the internet you will see a lot of websites telling you about how cameras work. They will tell you that’s it is all about the light bouncing around inside a tube and being reflected by pieces of glass before the hit a screen, or sensor.
While they may be right and it is all about science there is an alternative theory that I much prefer. One that Terry Pratchett describes in his book Moving Pictures.
An iconograph is a wonderful device that allows you to make “instantaneous paintings”. In fact, an imp with brushes, pencils and a good eye for colours is put in a box, and when you push the button, you open a little window on the box and the imp draws really fast what it sees through the opening. Salamanders are used when more light is necessary for the imp to paint a good picture. All but the cheapest of today’s iconographs can paint in colour.
Imps have no imagination whatsoever, and as a result, paint very accurate pictures. They do whatever they are told so long as it is within the limits of their training, such as being able to “zoom” in and paint in very small detail, or even to paint the picture of a cart and its number if it exceeds the speed limit.
Now you can understand why we need to recharge those camera batteries so much. Those batteries don’t hold electricity. They are tiny food parcels for hungry imps.