Nikon D300, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

On August 19, 1839, the French government announced the invention of photography as a gift “Free to the World”.  That was the year that Louis Daguerre created the Daguerreotype process and competitor William Fox Talbot created the Calotype process.

It seems there is some debate who deserves recognition for creating the first practical photographic process.  But I am personally fascinated more by the first successful permanent photograph View from the Window at Le Gras by Nicéphore Niépce taken 13 years earlier in 1826.

Inspired by the newly-invented art of lithography, Niépce created a light-sensitive varnish made of a petroleum derivative.  He applied it to a polished pewter plate, placed it behind his camera obscura, and pointed it all out the window of his country house.

Eight hours later his exposure was finished, and after washing the plate in order to remove the exposed varnish (and reveal the shiny pewter behind) the photograph was complete.  A fascinating side effect was that opposing buildings are evenly lit due to the sun traveling across the sky during the lengthy exposure.

So happy World Photography Day to you all!  And bonus brownie points for the commenter that can identify the location of the window I captured in the image above.

Written by Bubble Level

Jamie Zucek lives in California and enjoys film and digital photography, collecting and shooting vintage and modern cameras whenever he can.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Marisa Reply

    Can I guess even though it might be cheating? How about somewhere in London. Am I giving away the farm here? Maybe you’ll have to start moderating your comments due to me! Tee hee…

  2. Bubble Level Reply

    Ah, but with your insider knowledge you should have been able to guess the exact location… ;)
    It is the Monument to the Great fire of London, constructed between 1671 and 1677. It is the tallest isolated stone column in the world, and there are 311 steps to get to the top.
    The windows are placed pretty far apart, so that gap below it runs down a level or two of the staircase to provide light there as well.

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