Saturday, March 7, 2009

Two Photography Giants . . .

Today we celebrate the birthdays of two major contributors in the field of photography: Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (March 7, 1765 – July 5, 1833) and Henry Draper (March 7, 1837 – November 20, 1882).

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was a French inventor, most noted as the inventor of photography and for taking some of the earliest photographs. In 1825, he took what is believed to be the world's first ever photographs, it was of a 17th century engraving of a man with a horse and of an engraving of a woman with a spinning wheel.
Niépce called his process heliography, which literally means "sun writing". Around 1829, he began collaborating on improved photographic processes with Louis Daguerre. Together they developed the physautotype, a photographic processes using Lavender oil. Their partnership lasted until Niépce’s death in 1833.

Trivia bit: The crater Niepce on the Moon is named after him.

Earliest known evidence of photographic activity
(heliograph process)
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce
Bibliothèque nationale de France

Henry Draper was an American doctor, astronomer, chemist, botanist and a pioneer of astrophotography. He was the first to photograph the moon through a telescope in the winter of 1839-1840.

He made the first photograph of the spectrum of a star (Vega), in 1872 and was also the first to photograph a nebula, the Orion Nebula, in 1880.

Henry Draper is credited with the invention of the slit spectrograph and pushing the art in photography, instrumental optics, and telescope clock drives.

Trivia bit: After his untimely early death at the age of 45, his widow funded the Henry Draper Medal for outstanding contributions to astrophysics.

Niépce image source (1)
Niépce Oldest Photograph source (1)
Draper image source (1)

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