What is Photography

When trying to quantify what is photography, it’s important to first start with a photography definition.

In layman’s terms, photography is quite simply the process of capturing light with a camera to create an image.

This was done for the first time in 1826, when Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took a photo out of his window. The image, shown above, was entitled View from the Window at Le Gras.

In terms of subject matter, the photo isn’t all that impressive. However, as the oldest surviving photograph, it is nonetheless an important part of photography.

As simple as this image is, it demonstrates the technical process of photography perfectly.

To process the image captured by his camera, Niépce used a process of his invention called heliography.

It required bitumen to be dissolved in lavender oil. The resulting substance was coated onto a lithograph. Once dry, an engraving was placed on the lithograph, and then exposed to sunlight.

After setting, the lavender oil was washed off along with any unhardened bitumen. The remaining areas on the surface of the lithograph were washed with acid to create the final image.

But Joseph Nicéphore Niépce is just one player in the history of photography. There were many other photography achievements along the way.


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