Photography Timeline

  • Professor J. Schulze

    Professor J. Schulze mixes chalk, nitric acid, and silver in a flask; notices darkening on side of flask exposed to sunlight. This event becomes the accidental creation of the first photo-sensitive compound.
  • Joseph Nicephore Niépce (France)

    Joseph, who loved lithography but couldn't draw, invented the process by which a projected image could be affixed to light sensitive material. By the age of 53, the major technical elements were present in his work: camera, biconvex lens, and diaphragm. He was able to produce a sharp negative onto silver chloride and make it permanent (i.e. it didn't fade immediately) enough to mail to his brother. (d. 1833)
  • Aloys Senefeldr (Germany)

    Invents lithography
  • Thomas Wedgwood

    The first image created using a chemical process and focused light is made by Thomas Wedgwood. The image is highly unstable and deteriorates rapidly.
  • William Hyde Wollaston (England)

    Invents the "camera lucida." The device looks like a spy glass and peering through it combines the subject and the drawing surface in the same view.
  • Mathew Brady (USA) Born

    He and his staff (including Alexander Gardner) cover the American Civil War, exposing 7000 negative plates and revealing with new frankness the horrors of war. A major contributor to American History, he photographed, with one exception, every President of the United States from John Quincy Adams to William McKinley, the sixth to the twentyfifth Presidents. (d. 1896)