Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, born at Chalon-sur-Saône in 1765, shared a passion for research with his brother Claude: they kept corresponding with each other about their experiences, and it’s thanks to this exchange of letters that we know about the work of Niépce.
From 1816, Niépce became interested in lithography and conducted many trials. He discovered that Judean pitch has the property of hardening in the light; while exposing a translucent drawing on a plate coated in this substance, he succeeded in obtaining a picture. He christened this process heliography.
Niépce exposed these same plates in a darkened camera and thereby succeeded in obtaining the first photograph. The oldest photographs known to this day, reproduced here, took him a day to expose.
The video made by Jean-Louis Marignier, a French researcher, on show a little further along, will allow you to discover a reconstitution of this first process.