Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented photography.


Before his invention, pictures were made by painting or drawing. There were no cameras as we know them today.


He called his invention heliography. In Latin, helios means sun and graphein means write, so heliography means to write using the sun.


Because he was not good at drawing, Niépce wanted to capture pictures of the world in a different way, so he used the sun's light to make pictures.


Many inventions begin this way—as answers to existing problems.

Make a Heliograph Color a Picture Fun Facts Careful Looking Then and Now Tools Invention