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the first photograph

from photography, joseph nicephore niepce posted in art and design by tacopolis

Displayed in the Harry Ransom Center, at the University of Texas in Austin, is the first photograph.

Taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (French, 1765–1833) in 1826 or 1827, the photograph is entitled View from the Window at Le Gras, and it depicts the courtyard, trees and buildings of Niépce’s estate.

Niépce had been experimenting with a way to combine a method of printmaking using light and chemistry. At the same time, he wanted to use a camera obscura to capture direct views of nature.

From the Henry Ransom brochure:

After experimenting with paper, glass, and stone supports for various resins that hardened when exposed to light, Niépce began to use pewter plates in 1826. Sometime during that year or the next he coated his pewter plate with bitumen of Judea (an asphalt derivative of petroleum) and loaded it into a camera obscura looking out the window of his second-story workroom....

He called his invention "heliography," or sun-drawing...

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