First known photograph, taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1825 by the heliograph process. The image is of a 17th Century Flemish engraving showing a man leading a horse.
The word photography derives from the Greek words 'photos' - meaning light and 'graphein' - to draw. The word was popularised by Sir John Herschel in 1839.
Modern '''photography''' began in the 1820s with the first permanent photographs.
A camera obscura box used for drawing images
Euclid is the result of combining several technical discoveries. Long before the first photographs were made, Chinese philosopher Mo Ti and Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Euclid described a pinhole camera in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.E, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965–1040) studied the camera obscura and pinhole camera, Albertus Magnus (1193/1206-1280) discovered silver nitrate, and Georges Fabricius (1516-1571) discovered silver chloride. Daniel Barbaro described a diaphragm in 1568. Wilhelm Homberg described how light darkened some chemicals (photochemical effect) in 1694. The novel Giphantie (by the French Tiphaigne de la Roche, 1729-1774) described what can be interpreted as photography.
For years images have been projected onto surfaces. According to the Hockney–Falco thesis as argued by artist David Hockney, some artists used the camera obscura and camera lucida to trace scenes as early as the 16th century. However, this theory is heavily disputed by today's contemporary realist artists who are able to create high levels of realism without optical aids. These early cameras did not record an image, but only projected images from an opening in the wall of a darkened room onto a surface, turning the room into a large pinhole camera The phrase ''camera obscura'' literally means dark chamber. While this early prototype of today's modern camera may have had modest usage in its time, it was an important step in the evolution of the invention.