In 1937, the world was introduced to "daguerreotypy", the first publicly available photographic process. The invention sparked the beginning of a centuries-long love affair with still imagery. World Photography Day was created to mark the momentous occasion, which is today celebrated by thousands of avid photographers who share their images online.

Photography has played a pivotal role in helping conserve the world's wild species and spaces. Awe-inspiring images of endangered animals or rare behaviour have, at times, been instrumental in drumming up public support for wildlife protection. 

So this World Photography Day, we're looking back at some of the pioneering work carried out by early photographers who captured their shots long before the days of digital. Their contribution should not be forgotten.

Six of the frowzy-headed fishers in a pose. Photo used in the 1908 American Birds book by William Lovell Finley. Image © William Lovell Finley/Herman Bohlman
A trio of white-tailed deer flee in an early flash photograph taken in Michigan, date unknown. Image © George Shiras
Bison, muskox, mountain sheep, goats and game birds published in Wild oxen, sheep & goats of all lands, living and extinct (1898). Image © Richard Lydekker
Lynx on the shore of Loon Lake, Ontario, Canada, 1902 Image © George Shiras
Fur seals on San Miguel Island off the coast of California published in the Commercial fisheries review (1946). Image © US National Marine Fisheries Service/US Fish and Wildlife Service/Bureau of Commercial Fisheries
Two deer in the woods at night published National Geographic, July 1906. Image © George Shiras
Desert grouse circa 1938. Image © Joe Van Wormer
A bull elk catches a camera string in his antlers, triggering a flash. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, July 1913. Image © George Shiras
A remarkable night time shot of a snowy owl snapped in White Fish River, Michigan (1921). Image © George Shiras
Baby green turtles at Camp Lejeune waddle from their nest (1979). Image © UNC Sea Grant College Program