The World's 1st Photograph was by Heliography
July 24, 2005 11:22 AM   Subscribe

The world's first photograph was produced in France in about 1826. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce rendered a bitumen-on-pewter image of the view from his summer house in St-Loup de Varennes with an exposure time of ~8 hours. He dubbed the process, which used a camera obscura effect, heliography. Before he died in 1833 he worked for a few years with Louis Daguerre (yes, him) who incidentally invented the diorama, examples of which are among these other vintage optical toys.
posted by peacay (15 comments total)
wiki: Louis Daguerre, daguerrotype, diorama
By the by, there's collections of Lewis Carroll, Gone With the Wind and the 'Woodstein' papers among a few other things at that U of Texas site.
posted by peacay at 11:24 AM on July 24, 2005

Nice post, peacay. Always enjoy reading your stuff.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 11:37 AM on July 24, 2005

Fascinating post, peacay, thanks
posted by donfactor at 11:43 AM on July 24, 2005

Magnifique! Nice to see Niépce getting a little love after all the Daguerreomania.
posted by languagehat at 1:57 PM on July 24, 2005

Didn't realize the first photo was so... pixel-y.
Great post.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:45 PM on July 24, 2005

Neat stuff - looking back like this always make one appreciates current technology more - heck, we're starting to get mega-pixels on consumer cell phones - makes one wonder what it will be like decades from now.
posted by RonZ at 4:29 PM on July 24, 2005

"Nièpce". Really and truly.
posted by Wolof at 9:22 PM on July 24, 2005

Actually, my last comment's debatable.
posted by Wolof at 9:38 PM on July 24, 2005

I have seen this photo in person. It's at the Harry Ransom Center at the Univ. of Texas, as the 4th & 5th links indicate. It's in this little shaded hut and there's very little light in there. If you actually look straight on at the picture, all you see is black because the material has degraded so much. You have to look at it from the side at a really sharp angle. Still, it's neat.
posted by papakwanz at 10:40 PM on July 24, 2005

Though a lot is made of Nièpce & Daguerre, William Henry Fox Talbot's contributions should not be overlooked.

Nièpce's technology was basically a dead end. It's main problem: each photograph was a unique object. By 1860, nobody was using the Daguerreotype anymore.

Talbot's 'positive-negative' process bought art into the age of mechanical reproduction, and made photography what it is today.

And, Talbot invented photography because he couldn't draw.
posted by adrien at 1:22 AM on July 25, 2005

"Nièpce". Really and truly.

Niépce. Really and truly. You can look it up.
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on July 25, 2005

Nive post, peacay. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 7:20 AM on July 25, 2005

Yes, this is a fascinating collection of links - thanks!
posted by carter at 9:27 AM on July 25, 2005

You can look it up.

You can find either, depending on where you look. You can also find it without an accent.

Ceram's "Archaeology of the Cinema", Gardner's "Art Through The Ages", and Martin Jay's "Downcast Eyes" (all Anglo, but reputable) have it with the grave. Casetti's "Les Théories du cinéma depuis 1945" gives it as "Niepce", although this is a translation of an Italian book -- Noel Burch's "La Lucarne de l'infini" (written in French) likewise spells it with no accent. (As does the French wiki.) There's a Musée Nicéphore Niépce in Dijon, but there's also a Lycée Niepce. A little troll through this place suggests that using no accent may be the best option.

Next time I get near a Robert 2, I'll check it.
posted by Wolof at 9:09 PM on July 25, 2005

The Robert 2 has it with no accent. I am going to take this as authoritative.
posted by Wolof at 7:30 PM on July 26, 2005

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