- 1. The First Photograph
In 1824, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the first official photograph: a view from his window in Le Gras, a country house in France. Fascinated with the art of lithography, Joseph was never able to draw well and began studying how images could be copied. Using many instruments including the camera obscura, a pewter plate, lens, and more, the photograph took about eight hours to take. After the photography craze of the 1830’s, the First Photograph slipped into obscurity, until it was discovered by Helmut Gernsheim. He followed the clues as to its origins, purchased it, and it now hangs in the University of Texas at Austin.
- 2. First President to be Photographed
Taking office in 1825, John Quincy Adams was the first American president ever photographed. The son of second president John Adams. John Quincy Adams saw first-hand the beginnings of the American Revolution and lived to see his country expand from 13 colonies to a world superpower. After his presidency, he became well known as one of the leading advocates for the emerging abolitionist movement. His picture still hangs at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.