In 1816 Frenchman Nicephore Niepce made a crude wood camera fitted with a microscope lens.


He invented Heliography around 1826, which he used to make the earliest known permanent photograph from nature, View from the Window at Le Gras (c. 1826). See image at bottom of page.

The process used bitumen, as a coating on glass or metal, which hardened in relation to exposure to light.

When the plate was washed with oil of lavender, only the hardened image area remained.

View from the Window at Le Gras required an eight-hour exposure, which resulted in sunlight being visible on both sides of the buildings.

To the right, the window from which the photograph was taken.

Window at Le Gras