The first photo ever taken was by a French inventor and pioneer of photography Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. It is a photo taken from the window of his studio that took 8 hours of exposure (yes 8 hours!). The English title is “View from the Window at Le Gras”. The procedure used was a complex process of photo-sensitization of a metal plate and exposure to light through a camera opscura. The method was named Heliography and was presented to the Royal Society of London, but the truth is that it made no impression and unfortunately at that time received no special recognition.
We are used to seeing modern reproductions and copies of this photo. What we usually can’t see is the original, which is a small metal plate, which is far from being reminiscent of a photo. So I want to present it to you as a tribute to the pioneer Joseph Nicéphore Niépce who put us on the path to the discovery of photography. To remember how much hard work and effort it required for photography to become what we rejoice in today.
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras. c. 1826. Gernsheim Collection Harry Ransom Center / University of Texas at Austin.
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