Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

<p><b>Joseph Nicéphore Niépce</b>, <i>View from the Study Window</i>, 1826, heliograph on pewter plate</p>
<p><b>Nicéphore Niépce</b></p>
<p><b>Nicéphore Niépce</b></p>
1764 , d. 1832

Born Joseph Niépce, who later went by Nicéphore: a French inventor, who along with his older brother Claude built little things like the first working internal combustion engine. Nicéphore also came up with heliography ("sun drawing") using Bitumen of Judea, a tar-like substance that hardened when exposed to light. With it he created the first surviving photoengraving in 1825, and in 1826 or 1827 the first surviving image from a camera, a view from his window, for which the exposure time was one or more days (in the picture, the sun is shining in on opposite sides of the buildings). In 1829 he entered a partnership with Louis Daguerre, and together they improved his process somewhat, cutting the exposure time down to mere hours. Niépce died of a stroke in 1833 before further progress was made.

How to remember Nicéphore's name? Sounds French. Look at his photo, the first photo ever taken that yet survives: imagine looking out the window and down into the shadowy space between the buildings, and seeing four little girls in bright white French lace singing and dancing around and around, holding aloft the wooden box of Nicéphore's camera obscura - Nicéphore's nieces four, whom you might have seen in the photograph if only they'd stayed still long enough.

time well spent

closeup view Jack Troy cup, links to Jack Troy artist page

time to explore

link to newest page of ceramic artist links, including link to Scott Parady, pictured

time flies

Link to monthly image blog