In collaboration with Kodak and George Eastman House, this week celebrates the history of photography, its contribution to and relationship with surrounding culture, its place in the art world, and its reflection of technological innovations that have reshaped the industry. We meet photographers practicing their craft, and SEE this nexus of art, science, culture, biography, and history.
Digital photography pioneer Steve Sasson is a retired Eastman Kodak Company engineer and winner of multiple honors from consumer electronics groups and photographic societies. After graduating in 1973 with bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Steve joined Eastman Kodak as an electrical engineer working in an applied research laboratory. He engaged in a number of early digital imaging projects, among which was the design and construction of the digital still camera and playback system in 1975.
Sasson continued to work throughout the 1980s in the emerging field of digital photography, receiving over 10 key digital imaging patents. In 1989, he led the development of the first prototype megapixel electronic digital camera utilizing DCT compression that stored images to flash memory cards. In the 1990s, Sasson developed one of the first photographic-quality thermal printing systems, derivatives of which are still in use in self-service imaging kiosks around the world today.
Sasson was born and raised in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, N.Y. Throughout high school, he had an intense interest in electronics and collected all manner of discarded televisions and radios from around the neighborhood so he could salvage electronic components for his home projects. With these parts and those purchased on his frequent trips to "Radio Row" in Manhattan, Steven designed and built radio receivers, stereo amplifiers and transmitters in his basement. He obtained his amateur radio license as a teenager and further challenged his parents by putting up large antennas on the roof of the family's rather small row house in Brooklyn.
Before retiring in 2009, Sasson served as a project manager in the Intellectual Property Transactions group at Kodak.