This is the first photograph known to historians.

It took a unique combination of ingenuity and curiosity and to create it, so it’s only fitting that the person who made it was an inventor and not an artist.

In the 1820s, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce became fascinated with the printing method of lithography, in which images drawn on stone could be reproduced using oil ink.

Looking for other ways to get images, Nips set up a device called a camera obscura that captured and projected scenes lit by sunlight and taught how to view the image outside the window of his studio in eastern France.

The scene was cast on a machined tin plate, which after many hours retained a rough copy of the buildings and roofs from the outside. The result was the first known permanent photograph.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Nips’ achievement laid the foundation for the development of photography. He later worked with the artist Louis Daguerre, whose sharper images of daguerreotypes marked another major advance in photography.