SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oldest known photograph. The oldest known photograph, taken by a retired French army officer, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, in 1826. The rough image shows the scene from Niepce's workroom window. The image was taken using bitumen-coated pewter plate mounted in a camera obscura (a forerunner of the camera). The plate was exposed for several hours: the unhardened areas where less light had fallen were washed off with lavender oil. Niepce found he could not gain financial backing for his process. It was not until 1839, six years after Niepce's death, that Daguerre announced a practical method for making photographic images.
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