Assignment #3

For this assignment we were to watch ‘Niepce’s House’. This is a video that is about the frenchman Niepce, who managed to finally ‘fix the shadows’.

The first part was mostly about the only surviving photograph that he took. It’s a view from a window in his house. Researchers wanted to find out at what angle the picture was taken. One of them used a computer and old land surveys to recreate the landscape to try and find out the angle from which the picture was taken. However, it was discovered that there was an 70 cm discrepancy. By utilizing a trap door that exposed the original floorboards where they could see the angle from the original window. It was determined that the window must have been moved in order to make room for the fireplace that was installed, as the angle measured exactly the 70 inches that was needed to restore the original angle.

The second part that we were to watch revolved around the researchers recreating the exact experiments that Niepce performed. They even specially ordered 2 camera obscuras to be built exactly to Niepce’s specifications, the most utilized one was 11 cm on all sides. Niepce made his paper by dissolving a silver coin into a glass of Nitric acid, he then added cooking salt creating a precipitate that was white in color. He would speed up to 6 layers of this precipitate onto paper and then place it into the camera obscura. The camera was then placed into the exact location that Niepce placed it into, as determined by the computer program. The exposure period was just over 1 hour, yet he was still not able to fix the shadows for another 8 years.

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