Photos used to be only on copper plates; nowadays, they can be even on carpets or wall tiles.

It is common for us these days to have photos from a family holiday, celebration or get-together with friends not only in a frame or on a fridge but also on a phone or computer desktop. Images in the form of large-scale photos are surrounding us literally on every corner. From the photos on shop and restaurant walls through advertisements on house facades to billboards by the roads. It is because the latest technologies make it possible to transfer the photo on countless types of materials. It may be wood, textile, glass or anything you choose. Newly also wall tiles or carpets.

Historical excursion: from stone to pixels

The possibility today of placing a photo on wood, textiles or even carpets and tiles has long since been developed. The oldest photograph in the world is a painting on a copper plate from 1825 showing a man leading a horse. It is by the Frenchman Joseph Niepce, whose most famous photograph, entitled “The View from the Window in Le Gras”, dates from 1826 and is captured on a tinplate. The inventor, however, only came to the idea of using a tinplate after several years of research when he first tried to take pictures on a lithographic stone. The historical milestone was the year 1860, when William Fox Talbot developed the negative-positive process. This made it possible to make copies of a photograph from an original and transfer it to paper.

This method was only overcome in the second half of the 20th century with the advent of digital photography. This era began in 1969 with the development of a CCD sensor by inventors George Elwood Smith and Willard Boyl. It was used by Sony and in 1981 the first CCD digital camera was introduced, not a regular film. The first color camera digital camera could be purchased in 1994 when Apple introduced the QuickTake 100. In the Czech Republic, sales of digital cameras began about two years later.

The image on paper is no exaggeration

Thanks to the digital revolution, it is now possible to record moments of life on modern cameras or smartphones and then share them with your environment in a matter of seconds. Many people take advantage of the ability to store images in web clouds or portable devices such as discs, SD cards or stand-alone CDs and DVDs. Many of us also use digital photo frames for holiday and celebration memories. Despite many amenities, people do not forget the ordinary printed photo, which is a symbol and has its tradition. Otherwise, we would only find photo albums or photos in the form of glazed pictures on the walls of a few families today. We can print them comfortably from home or have them developed in a specialist shop.

Photo ad base

Photography has experienced its great boom since it became part of advertising. In the Czech Republic, this development began in the 1990s after the political change. With the dynamic development of the market, advertising and marketing communication also began to develop. The photo has gained a new purpose: sales. The presentation of countless goods that accompany us today has developed massively. During a daily journey home from work or shopping we are surrounded by advertising space, billboards and large advertisements on the facades of houses on every corner. Large-format printing technologies have also contributed to this, with which photos can be printed in unlimited sizes. Thanks to them, we can now see pictures of extraordinary sizes on wallpaper in restaurants, sports shops, pictures of athletes during training and on roads and motorways, as well as on various types of billboards. The trend in fashion photography is to capture movement, while photographers also use robots.

Tiles on and above the wall

However, modern technologies have gone one step further today. They allow you to transfer photos to materials other than paper. They can be printed on textiles, foils, glass or wood. Plastics and various metals are not the exception. You can even print a photo on a carpet. Revolutionary technology in the field of photography today makes it possible to place the desired image on tiles. This technique was developed in Germany and offers a relatively unique element of the interior that stands out in any room. “Thanks to special technologies, it is possible to print a photo or other image on one or more tiles, from which a square image of several square meters can be created in the form of a mosaic,” says Andre Beurskens of C.ART Studio, who is beginning to implement “photo books” in Czech. As with other milestones, evolution in the development of photography and its transmission has taken decades. “Before reaching today’s quality, tests were carried out for 30 years,” says Beurskens. The copying process takes one to two days and each piece is a handmade original. “The tile with the film on which it is shot is fired in an oven at 900 degrees. The film burns and the image remains on the material. After cooling, the glaze is applied to increase gloss and durability,” Beurskens says, adding that the tiles can be used both in a residential building and to diversify the design in hotels, restaurants or wellness centres.

Source: ZPRAVODAJSTVI 24, 21 March 2019. You can find the press article here.