Steady advancements in chemistry, light and optics culminated in 1826 with the creation of the first photograph. Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce pondered the possibility of using light-sensitive compounds to reproduce imagery as early as 1793, but it wasn’t until a summer’s day in 1827 that Niépce managed to permanently fix the first photograph. He coated a pewter plate with bitumen of Judaea and placed this sheet inside a camera obscura, then focused it on the scene outside his window—the courtyard and outbuildings of his family’s country home. The place was exposed to sunlight for eight hours, during which the bitumen subject to brightness became hardened and bleached. Niépce later washed the plate in lavender oil and white petroleum, dissolving the bitumen that wasn’t exposed and leaving only the hardened parts behind. The result was a lasting impression of the garden: a direct positive, because the dark parts are the metal plate and the light parts are the bleached bitumen. Basically, every image we have today—on TV and video games and the internet—all evolved from bitumen and lavender oil on a metal plate.