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Joseph Niepce

The 'father of photography' Joseph Niephore Niepce was born in Chalons-sur-Saone, France on March 7, 1765. His parents educated him for a career in the clergy, but the French Revolution intervened. Young Niepce's interests led him elsewhere, and by 1793, he and his brother Claude were conducting photographic experiments with great success. However, the following year, Mr. Niepce joined the French Republic Army on its Italian campaign until a bout of illness forced him to terminate his military service.

After getting married and settling in his hometown of Chalons, Mr. Niepce began paying close attention to the new art of lithography, which was enjoying great popularity throughout France in 1813. Although he lacked drawing skills, he began experimenting with engravings. He made a transparency and then placed it on a stone he coated with a varnish that was sensitive to light. He dubbed this "sun drawing - heliography". This discovery led to further experiments in photography, and in 1814, Mr. Niepce embarked upon fixing images that had been captured in the camera obscura; however, no texts detailing this research were published until 1827.

The year 1826 turned out to be an important turning point for the photographic scientist. He took what is widely believed to be the first permanent photograph, of the landscape surrounding his house and entitled, "View from the Window at Gras." The total process took three days, and began with making an exposure on a polished pewter plate that had been coated with bitumen of Judea solution. After an eight-hour exposure time, the image became visible when Mr. Niepce washed the plate with a mixture of lavender oil and white petroleum, which dissolved the leftover bitumen. What remained was a direct positive picture, nine years before British inventor William Henry Fox Talbot would produce the first paper negative. Mr. Niepce also became acquainted with countryman Louis Daguerre's photographic research, which he followed with great excitement.

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2012-05-27 09:01:56
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