Most people keep photos as a reminder of special people and moments. Unfortunately, photos can also remind us of all our bad hair days and fashion blunders. Say Cheese.
People have known how to project images using a pinhole camera for thousands of years, they were using them in China 2,500 years ago. But no one managed to get a permanent image until the 1800s.
The first ever photograph was taken in 1826 by French inventor Nicephore Niepce. He used a pinhole camera to project the view from his window on to a photo-sensitive silver-compound-coated metal plate. It took eight hours of bright sunlight to make the image permanent!
Louis Daguerre teamed up with Niepce and improved and developed the process. Daguerre took the first photo of a person in 1838. Even though it’s a street scene, there’s only one visible person in the photo, a man having his boots polished; anyone or anything that didn’t stay still for at least ten minutes wouldn’t show up. (That’s why Victorians look so stiff in photos.)
Around the same time, William Talbot was busy inventing a method of taking a negative print, from which any number of photographs could be made.
The oldest surviving negative dates from 1835: a rather unexciting image of one of the windows in Talbot’s home. Daguerre’s and Talbot’s inventions were the two basic processes used for photography.