1820s - World’s first permanent photographic image created by Joseph Nicephore Niépce

Source: https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/niepce-heliograph/

Born to a prominent family in the Burgundy region of France, Joseph Nicephore Niépce (1764 – 1833) was motivated by the growing popular demand for affordable pictures. From the 1800s, he explored lithography – a printing method in which images drawn on stone can be reproduced using oil-based ink. Searching for other ways to produce images, he produced legible but fleeting camera pictures—or points de vue, as he called them—in 1816. Over the next decade he tried an array of chemicals, materials, and techniques to advance the process he ultimately called héliographie, or ‘sun writing’. The earliest surviving example of his work shows the view outside his studio window in eastern France. The scene was cast on a treated pewter plate that, after many hours, retained a crude copy of the buildings and rooftops outside. The result was the first known permanent photograph.

Niépce’s achievement laid the groundwork for the development of photography. Later, he worked with Louis Daguerre, whose sharper daguerreotype images marked photography’s next major advancement.

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Image: Untitled ‘point de vue,’ 1827. Heliograph on pewter, 16.7 x 20.3 x .15 cm. taken at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (Le Gras), France.

Courtesy Harry Ransom Center, Austin, Texas