Joseph Nicephore Niepce, French inventor, c 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Statue in Chalon-sur-Saone, Joseph Nicephore Niepce's home-town. The world's first photograph was taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce (1765-1833) in 1826 using a camera obscura to project an image onto a sheet of pewter coated with bitumen, it took eight hours for a blurred image to form. Niepce called his invention a Heliograph, after the Greek 'of the Sun'.