History of photography
But before that the photography was to be born… A long history of discoveries had preceded this greatest invention.
Even in 350 B.C. the Greek thinker Aristotel knew that in a dark room with a small hole one could see through it the outside objects reflected on the opposite wall. The camera obscura (in Latin camera obscura means a dark room) was the first device used to project and copy pictures. For a long time painters used it to draw sketches from life, engineers used it to make a plan of the countryside, scientists used the camera obscura to watch an eclipse of the sun. Gradually the camera obscura was altered: a lens was put into it, the image with the help of a mirror was projected on a frosted glass plate. It was a kind of a prototype of a photographic camera to be. Despite the fact that it was possible using the camera obscura to draw an optical picture on paper or just watch it, the problem how to ´fix´ the image on paper in an easier way wasn´t solved yet.
The most remarkable success in inventing photography belongs to two Frenchmen and an Englishman: Niepce, Daguerre and Talbot.
Joseph Nicephore Niepce (1765 – 1833) was a military engineer and an inventor. He studied and experimented with many light-sensitive compounds trying to permanently record and fix an image. As historians say, he managed to do it in 1822. But the first successful permanent print to survive "drawn" with light was an image of an urban landscape produced in 1826 with the help of the camera obscura. To get this image Nicephore Niepce coated a metal plate with a solution of asphalt in lavender oil. Asphalt is not sensitive to light. However, the picture took eight hours to expose. The sun had lit the both sides of the building he was taking a picture of from the window of his workroom at his Saint-Loup-de-Varennes country house, Le Gras. The image was of very low quality, and hence, the landscape was hardly seen. Niepce called this print heliography – drawn by the sun. It was 8 by 6 inches in size. This way, the first ever photographic fixation of an image belongs to Niepce.
View from the Window at Le Gras, c. 1826