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Photograph
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Photograph

A photograph (often just photo) is an image (or a representation of that on e.g. paper) created by collecting and focusing electromagnetic radiation. The most common photographs are those created of visible wavelengths, producing permanent records of what the human eye can see.

A photograph is taken using photographic film loaded into a traditional film camera or using a CCD or CMOS chip in a digital camera. Most traditional (analog) photographs are produced with a two-step process. In the two-step process, the film holds a negative image (colours and lights/darks are inverted), which is then transferred onto photographic paper as a positive image. Another widely used film is the positive film used for producing slides. Slides are widely used by professionals mostly due to their sharpness and accuracy of colour rendition. Most photos published in magazines are still originally taken on colour transparency film. One of the most famous slide films is Kodachrome.

Originally almost all photographs were black and white. Although methods for developing colour photos were available as early as the late 19th century, they did not become widely available until the 1940s or 50s, and even in until the 1960s most photgraphs were taken in black and white. Since then, colour photography has dominated popular photography, although the black and white format remains popular for amateur photographers and artists. Black and white film is considerably easier to develop than colour.

Panorama sized images can be taken by using special cameras like the Hasselblad Xpan on standard film. Since the 1990s panoramic photos have been relatively easy for the general population to take on Advanced Photo System film. APS was developed by several of the major film manufacturers to provide a "smart" film with different formats and computerized options available. With the advent of digital photography this format has become less popular and will be discontinued in the near future.

Digital photos can be stored in various file formats, of which JPEG is the most popular. Many other graphic formats are used, including TIFF, PNG, GIF, and RAW.

Some photographs are forbidden, e.g. representing child pornography and those that are considered espionage.

See also: photo archive, photography, photo op, digital photography, photographer, pseudo-photograph, Voyager Golden Record, Wikipedia:Featured pictures, Wikipedians/Photographers