Processes recreated in the House

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Re-creation of Niépce’s first experiments in 1816

Re-created camera obscura

Carefully following the inventor’s indications, Pierre-Yves Mahé and Jean-louis Marignier rebuild his BOX, the ancestor of the photo camera, and fit it with a plain lens. Like Niépce, they patiently wait long hours in order to have the sun to expose the images.

Re-creations of silver chloride Retinas

© Jean-Louis Marignier/

These negatives were made with a camera obscura built according to Niépe’s indications found in his letters.They are obtained on a paper coated with silver chloride prepared accordingly to Niépce’s technique re-created by Jean-Louis Marignier. Comparing his camera obscura to an eye, Nicephore called these negatives “Retinas”.

©P-Y Mahé/

Since 1989, Jean-Louis Marignier,specialist in study of radiations with matter, is deciphering Niépce’s writings and started the experimental analyse of his works. J.L. Marignier is the first person to have successfuly re-created the different steps that led to the creation of the first photographic process.
In order to have his experiments matching Niépce’s closely as possible, he went as far as using the Judea bitumen used by the inventor.

Pictures shot with Niépce’s camera

These Photographs on modern film were shot with a reproduction of one of Niépce’s camera.

© P-Y Mahé/