The first decades of the photographic image falls in a socially instable era. The Spring of Nations was on the horizon with revolutions rising against European monarchies and a multitude of modifications transformed the foundation of European society during the first half of the 19th century.
Liberal reformers and radical politicians started to turn their attention to revise national governments. Popular press expanded the political awareness and at the same time the technological changes revolutionized the life of the working classes. New values and ideas such as popular liberalism, nationalism and socialism appeared. Modern society owes its social background to the great political and economical disruptions that had been taking place in the 18th and 19th century. These movements were the continuum of a transformation running through this age, which since the Renaissance and the Reformation created a path of development differentiating the West, from the rest of the world.
The rise of science, as a practical approach, has its roots in individualism and secularism. These new ideas climaxed in explosive events toward the end of the 18th century. Individualism cultivated the ground for political revolutions, while secularism stimulated a positive environment for technological innovations at the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.
As mankind proceeded through the Age of Reason and the Age of Enligthment towards Modernism, during the period of 1842–43, Ada Lovelace – the daughter of Lord Byron- translated the Italian mathematician, Luigi Menabrea's essay on the English inventor Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. She added an extra set of notes to the article, which had eventually become longer and in time more significant than the essay itself. It described an algorithm for calculating a mathematical sequence ( Bernulli numbers ) with Babbage's invention. The world's first computer program had been written and Ada Lovelace is credited as the very first computer programmer. She was ahead of her time, since electronic computers haven’t been developed until the mid-20th century. Unlike her contemporaries she maintained a vision, that one-day computers would exceed the simple task of calculating and they would become a tool of creation and be an essential part of life.
Even though pinhole cameras were mentioned already around the 4th and 5th centuries BC, by the Chinese philosopher Mo Ti and by the Greek mathematicians Aristotle and Euclid, photography as medium has been invented only in the early 19th century. Nicéphore Niépce took the first photograph ever with a camera obscura in 1826 and the first photograph showing a person in the picture appeared twelve years later, in 1838 made by Daguerre.