Photography has been a medium of limitless possibilities since it was originally invented in the early 1800s. The use of cameras has allowed us to capture historical moments and reshape the way we see ourselves and the world around us. The art form continues to make history even today. Here’s information about the first photograph in the world.

First Photograph Ever

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Photo: Insider

The world's first photograph—or at least the oldest surviving photo—was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. Captured using a technique known as heliography, the shot was taken from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate in Burgundy. As heliography produces one-of-a-kind images, there are no duplicates of the piece, The photo was acquired by the Ransom Center at the University of Texas back in 1963, where it is still permanently exhibited, and it represents the beginning of the photographic era in time. When you look at the photo, it's nothing much: just a grainy view of a roof somewhere in France.

The process of taking the first photo

The process was used to be much more complicated. To capture this moment in time, Niépce wanted to use a light-sensitive material so the light itself would "etch" the image for him. After much struggle and trial and error, he finally found the perfect formula. According to the University of Texas at Austin, he developed some sort of combination of bitumen of Judea, a type of asphalt, and spread it over this pewter plate:

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Photo: Insider

After letting the image sit in a camera obscura for eight hours, the outdoor light eventually did all the work for him. Here's the University of Texas's description of how he did it:

When he let this petroleum-based substance sit in a camera obscura for eight hours without interruption, the light gradually hardened the bitumen where it hit, thus creating a rudimentary photo. He "developed" this picture by washing away the unhardened bitumen with lavender water, revealing an image of the rooftops and trees visible from his studio window.

And thus the first known photograph was born. Niépce himself called it heliography, or "light writing."

While it was a revolution in technology, the plate itself went missing for quite some time. Eventually, it was found in storage, in an unknown crate, in 1952.

Other first photographs

First photo of a person

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Photo: CNN

In 1838, Louis Daguerre took this image of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris where he unintentionally recorded the first person in a photograph. The man down at the bottom left getting his shoes shined was the only person on the street that paused long enough to be recorded by his long exposure.

First self-portrait

Selfies have come a long way since Robert Cornelius took this quarter-plate size daguerreotype made outside his family store back in 1839.

The First Color Photograph

The first color photograph was taken by the mathematical physicist, James Clerk Maxwell. The piece above is considered the first durable color photograph and was unveiled by Maxwell at a lecture in 1861. The inventor of the SLR, Thomas Sutton, was the man who pressed the shutter button, but Maxwell is credited with the scientific process that made it possible. For those having trouble identifying the image, it is a three-color bow.

First Photo of War

Carol Popp de Szathmari is the first known war photographer, capturing hundreds of images of the Crimean War. But it's this image from 1870 that is thought to be the first photograph of an actual battle. Showing a line of Prussian troops as they advance, the photographer shot the image as he stood with French defenders.

First Photo of a Black Hole

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Photo: NBC News

In April 2019, NASA released the first known image of a black hole. This mysterious entity sits in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy—55 million light-years from Earth—and was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope. The luminous disk we see is actually the black hole's accretion disk, where hot gases swirl around the vacuous space.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (7 March 1765 – 5 July 1833), commonly known or referred to simply as Nicéphore Niépce, was a French inventor, usually credited as the inventor of photography and a pioneer in that field. Niépce developed heliography, a technique he used to create the world's oldest surviving product of a photographic process: a print made from a photoengraved printing plate in 1825. In 1826 or 1827, he used a primitive camera to produce the oldest surviving photograph of a real-world scene. Among Niépce's other inventions was the Pyréolophore, the world's first internal combustion engine, which he conceived, created, and developed with his older brother Claude Niépce.

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