The First Photograph in History

View from the Window at Le Gras

It doesn’t look like much, but this is the world’s first photograph, or rather, the oldest surviving photograph, or both. It was taken by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce, using a camera obscura focused onto a pewter plate coated with a thin layer of Bitumen of Judea, a naturally occurring asphalt. Niépce exposed this plate through a lens to the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes. The exposure is believed to have lasted at least eight hours, up to several days.

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