also tele-photo, 1898, shortened form of telephotographic (1892), in reference to lenses introduced at that time to increase the magnification of photographs taken by a camera, from tele- + photographic.
before vowels tel-, word-forming element meaning "far, far off, operating over distance" (also, since c. 1940, "television"), from Greek tele "far off, afar, at or to a distance," related to teleos (genitive telos) "end, goal, completion, result," from PIE root *kwel- (2) "far" in space or time.
"of, pertaining to, using, or produced by photography," 1839, from photograph + -ic. Meaning "minutely accurate" is by 1864; photographic memory is from 1865. Related: Photographical; photographically.