Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was a French inventor, usually credited as the inventor of photography. It was in 1793 that Niépce first had the idea of producing permanent images. Niépce had some success with paper coated with light-sensitive compounds of silver. Images did register on the paper, but they completely blackened when they were exposed to light as they were removed from the camera.
Three years later, Niépce began taking pictures of scenes, rather than ‘photocopying’ drawings. These photos were not negative but positive images. The oldest photo still in existence is View from the Window at le Gras (1826), an eerie image of outbuildings taken from the first floor of Niépce’s house.