Before photography (1 of 12)

From the ancient discovery of the camera obscura to the eighteenth-century mechanical devices used to create silhouettes such as the physionotrace, this initial chapter explores the inventions and inventors that preceded photography. It recreates the experiments of Johann Schulze who proved the light sensitivity of certain silver salts and Thomas Wedgwood’s early attempts to make photographic images. These early pioneers contributed to the discovery of photography in 1839.

Video from the the George Eastman Museum

Cite this page as: George Eastman Museum, "Before photography (1 of 12)," in Smarthistory, May 8, 2019, accessed May 23, 2024,