World’s first photographer – level 3
Three rare images taken by the world’s first photographer are going on show 250 years after his birth.
The images were taken in the 1820s by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce born in 1765. He is recognised as the world’s first successful photographer.
He created permanent images by exposing chemicals on metal plates to light, which he called heliography, meaning drawing with the sun.
There are 16 Niépce’s heliographic plates known to be in existence today, three of which belong to the National Media Museum’s Royal Photographic Society collection. The examples include an image of Christ carrying the cross, a portrait of Cardinal Georges D’Amboise and Clair de lune.
There are said to be only a dozen early photographs in the world, according to the National Media Museum, where the photos will be exhibited later this month. Having three together in the same place, though, is extremely rare.
Niépce is credited with taking the earliest known surviving photograph which is a view from a window of his house in Burgundy in France. The photo is said to have required an exposure of about eight hours.
Difficult words: permanent (existing for a long time), expose (to allow light to come on something), Clair de lune (French for “moonlight”; a painting of a moonlit scenery), dozen (twelve), exhibit (to show something), credit (to give somebody’s achievement publicly).
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