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Point de vue du Gras by Niépce, 1826

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Point de vue du Gras by Niépce, 1826

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300dpi scan of the first successful permanent photograph from nature.

Nicephore Niepce (1765-1833) was a French inventor and photographer who is credited with producing the world's first known photograph. Born on 7 March 1765 in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, Niepce had a keen interest in technological innovation. At the beginning of the 19th century, Niepce began experimenting with various techniques to create permanent images. His most significant achievement came in 1826, when he successfully took the world's first photograph, which he called 'View from the Window at Le Gras'. This photograph was taken using a process called heliography, a technique that involved exposing a pewter plate coated with bitumen of Judea (a type of asphalt) to light. The exposure time for Niepce's early photographs was quite long, typically several hours. As a result, the images were static scenes with little movement. Despite the long exposure times, Niepce's work laid the foundation for the development of photography as an art and science. Unfortunately, Niepce's life was marked by financial difficulties and he faced challenges in promoting and commercialising his photographic inventions. He worked with Louis Daguerre, another pioneer of photography, to refine the process. However, Niepce died on 5 July 1833 before he could see the widespread success of photography. Louis Daguerre continued Niepce's work and later developed the daguerreotype process, which played a crucial role in the popularisation of photography in the 19th century. Although Nicephore Niepce's contributions are sometimes overshadowed by later developments, he is recognised as one of the founding figures in the history of photography.

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1826
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Harry Ransom Center
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