Experiments in Persistence of Vision

Experimentation with “Persistence of Vision” devices 1830‘s by European scientists were the first organized attempts to create moving pictures. Joseph Plateau’s “Phenakitoscope” utilized drawings on a spinning disk to give the illusion of motion. Plateau discovered that 16 frames per second were required to convince the brain that it was viewing a single image in motion. Similar devices were created by the Austrian Simon Ritter von Stampfer “Stroboskope”, and Englishman William Horner (“Zoëtrope” 1834).

In 1853, the German Baron Franz von Uchatius experimented with projecting images from a Phenakitoscope-type device using a “magic lantern”.

1832     (Belgian)  Joseph Plateau “Phenakistoscope” 

1832     (German)  Simon Ritter Von Stampfer “Stroboscope”

1834     (English)  William Horner “Zoëtrope”

1853     (German)  Baron Franz von Uchatius  projects spinning discs onto screen using a “magic lantern”

Early Photographs

Early photographic technology was developed in France by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre. Experimenting with a camera obscura device, Niépce discovered a method to capture an image onto pewter plate using light-sensitive materials, in a process he referred to as “heliography”. The image below was, made from the artist’s studio in Burgundy France, took 8 hours to create. Note the reflection of the sun on both sides of the building.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce - Early photograph (1826 or 1827)

Louis Daguerre continued to refine the photographic process in the 1830’s, creating a technique now known as a “Daguerreotype”. This method involved creating an image on a plate of iodized silver and made visible by exposure to a mercury vapor. Exposure times were reduced from 8 hours to around 30 minutes. 

The image below is the first known photograph to include a human. Taken on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, the long-exposure image shows a man in the lower-left of the photo getting a shoe shine. 

Louis Daguerre - Boulevard du Temple, Paris (1837 or 1838)