Niepce House

Niepce House (10:24)

Niepce house, located in Paris, France, was the home of Nicephore Niepce. Niepce is considered one of the fathers of photography and is well known for taking the first negative photograph. Niepce house if the birthplace of photography.

In the film excavators and historians excavated Niepce’s house in order to determine which parts existed during Niepce’s life and where he had studied/taken his pictures. They removed modernized floor boards, walls, windows, etc to find the history that lay hidden beneath them.

While excavating they discovered the exact location where Niepce had taken the first negative photograph and they worked to replicate his work and take the same photograph themselves in the same manner that he had taken them. In order to do so they had to replicate the paper that Niepce had used. They did so using the following steps.

1. Placed a silver coin in nitric acid till it completely dissolved                                                    2. Added cooking salt to the silver/acid so that silver chloride precipitation at the bottom of the bowl                                                                                                                                                    3. Spread six layers of the silver chloride onto a piece of white paper that fit into the camera obscura                                                                                                                                              4. Then placed the silver chloride covered paper into the camera obscura                                         5. Place camera facing subject and within an hour the paper will capture the subject to form a negative image

                                                                                                            Niepce’s First Negative Photograph                             The Historians Negative Photograph

Eight years after taking the first photograph negative, Niepce discovered a new way to take a picture using the camera obscura in order to make the negative permanent, therefore it wouldn’t fade. He did this by adding bitumen to the silver chloride. After a few days exposure using this new mixture, photographs would be captured and permanent.

After viewing this short film it was evident that the historians were quite curious to learn about how the first photograph in history was taken and what methods were used. They excavated Niepce’s house in order to answer these questions and were able to make many findings. They learned how Niepce made the first camera and “photograph” paper. They also learned the exact location in which the first photograph was taken which allowed them to replicate it almost exactly. The historians yearning to learn about photography and its discover helped them learn more and more about Niepce, his life, and his photograph techniques. There findings then helped to study how photography has changed since the time of Niepce and how it has improved.

Photograph Citations:

Jean-Louis Marignier. N.d. Photograph. The Beginnings of PhotographyWeb. 28 Jan 2012. <;.

Niepce. The First Photograph. N.d. Photograph. Harry Ransom CenterWeb. 28 Jan 2012. <;.v


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