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Birth of Photography. Photography. In 1826 Nicephore Niepce (a chemist) made the first surviving photograph. It was an image of the courtyard outside his home. Photography. To obtain the hazy image Neipce exposed a polished pewter plate for 8 hours. View from His Window at Gras by Niepce.

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Birth of Photography

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Birth of photography

Birth of Photography



  • In 1826 Nicephore Niepce (a chemist) made the first surviving photograph.

    • It was an image of the courtyard outside his home



  • To obtain the hazy image Neipce exposed a polished pewter plate for 8 hours.

Birth of photography

View from His Window at Gras by Niepce



  • Invented a more practical process of photography in 1839.

  • His first picture “Still Life” was a brilliantly detailed view of the corner of his studio.

    • Only needed to expose for 10-15 minutes



  • Daguerreotype: used a camera obscura and treated copper plate.

    • Copper plate was coated with a thin layer of silver, then before it was exposed it was made light sensative by fumes from iodine crystals in a wooden box. After the exposure mercury fumes would develop the image which was then fixed with a common salt solution.

Birth of photography

Still Life by Daguerre

Birth of photography

Boulevard du Temple by Daguerre

Birth of photography

Abraham Lincoln by Nicholas Sheperd



  • Talbot further improved the process of photography with the invention of calotypes in 1839.

    • Calotypes were also known as photo negatives.

Tree by talbot

Tree by Talbot

Other advances

Other advances

  • 1851- Wet plate process that reduced exposure time to seconds while preserving details

  • Dry Plate decreased exposure time to seconds (no tripod needed)

Matthew brady

Matthew Brady

  • Captured the horrors of the Civil War with more than 7,000 negatives.

  • His photos of skeletons with canteens still slung around them recorded the grim reality of war and inspired The Gettysburg Address

Battle of gettysburg by

Battle of Gettysburg by

Documentary photography

Documentary Photography

  • Jacob Riis was a NYC police reporter who saw the violence of the city on a daily basis.

  • His photographs of the slums led to the first set of legislation to reform housing and labor laws.

Street arabs in the area of mulberry street by jacob riis

Street Arabs in the Area of Mulberry Street by Jacob Riis

Portrait photography

Portrait Photography

  • Nadar conceived, posed and lighted the figures to highlight their character traits.

  • Nadar was the first to use electric light in photos & invented aerial photography.

Sarah bernhardt by nadar

Sarah Bernhardt by Nadar

Princess soutzo by nadar

Princess Soutzo by Nadar

Etienne carjet baudelaire by nadar

Etienne Carjet Baudelaire by Nadar

Detail of etienne carjet baudelaire by nadar

Detail of Etienne Carjet Baudelaire by Nadar

Art photography

Art Photography

  • Julia Margaret Cameron: excelled at defining personality in intense portraits

  • She was the first to have lenses specially built for a soft focus effect in her allegorical and often overly sentimental images.

Self portrait by julia cameron

Self Portrait by Julia Cameron

Mary mother by julia cameron

Mary Mother by Julia Cameron

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