The worlds first photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 and is called ‘View from the Window at le Gras’. The process Joseph used to take this photograph is known as ‘heliography’ which involved mixing Bitumen and water and painting it on a pewter plate, drying it with heat and inserting the pewter into a camera facing out of a first floor window. After an 8 hour exposure the pewter plate was washed with oil of lavender and white petrolium, revealing the lighter and darker shades of the view from the window.
In 1835, Scholar, William Henry Fox Talbot was disappointed in his ability to sketch and began researching camera obscuras which had become popular with artists as a tool to aid them drawing.
He was quoted saying ‘How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durable and remain fixed upon the paper! And why should it not be possible? I asked myself.’
Eventually, he created a ‘mousetrap’ camera (named by his wife). A mousetrap camera is a simple wooden box with a brass barrel single lens.