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Who took the first photograph?

I'll be honest, I love shooting video, but only like taking photos. I have found most people prefer photos. Maybe that speaks to the instant gratification of our time, the quickness and ease of a photoshoot, or maybe my ability (or lack there of) as a cinematographer. Whatever the case, I am doing a photoshoot today, so what better question to ask Google today than, "who took the first photograph?"

Now several sources mention the camera obscura, but that's not a photo, that's just playing with light and creating a projection. In 1685 Johann Zahn wrote extensively on the subject of light, the camera obscura, magic lantern, telescopes, lens and the like. He proposed a design for the first handheld camera, but it would take another 150 years before that idea became a reality.

That brings us to Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, who is widely considered the creator of photography. In 1816 he produced the first (partially) successful photograph using a homemade camera and paper coated with silver chloride. This photo no longer exists, but was documented in a letter to his sister. The oldest known surviving photograph is one he took in 1826 or 1827, depicting the view from his window.

Fast forward to 1839 when Louis Daguerre, a french artist and photographer (who began working with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1829) used his new technique to take the first photo of a human! These photos were still one-of-a-kind, not to be replicated. It wasn't until William Henry Fox Talbot, scientist and inventor, developed light sensitive paper. In 1840 Fox Talbot revealed his process for developing photographs which also created a negative (allowing for duplicates to be made) and this process would take us up to the digital age.

Kodak was the first to introduce flexible film in 1888 with their first handheld camera, and in 1890 the first removable film containers revolutionized the industry once again. This also allowed amateur photographers easier access as the costs weren't nearly as high and the cameras were now portable.

The invention of photography through to today's digital images and whatever the future may hold all points to us wanting to capture a moment and be able to look back on it. I'm certainly glad for the invention and cherish the memories I'm able to capture.

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