Eight aerial views of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, c 1860s.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
Wet collodion plate by Nadar. Nadar (1820-1910), real name Gaspard Felix Tournachon, was a French photographer, writer, caricaturist and balloonist who is remembered as one of the best of the portraitists. He took the first ever aerial photograph from an enormous balloon which he built around 1858. The balloon was three times larger than any other made and carried a two- story gondola capable of carrying forty-nine men. The balloon also contained a darkroom where Nadar coated his wet plates. In 1861-62 he made several series of photographs of the catacombs and sewers beneath Paris, and was the first photographer to use electric lights.