In the last 300 years, there have been few inventions as important as the camera. To be able to record light and turn it into a physical or digital copy has changed the world in countless ways. Photography has been progressing technologically and artistically since its introduction almost two centuries ago; this progress and the many developments have captured, appealed to, and changed cultures all around the world. From a vague idea that the ancient greeks had to the vivid images created by today's professional photographers, the journey of innovation and creativity surrounding the camera is not only extremely interesting, but extremely important.
The first real photographic images started coming around in the early 19th century. The first partially successful photograph ever taken was by french inventor Nicephore Niepce in 1816. He used a small camera, essentially a dark box with a hole in it, to project light onto a sheet of silver chloride, which darkens whenever it is exposed to light. This image was not permanent, as when he took it out to view it, the sheet began to completely darken from overexposure to light. He thought that would be the end of his invention's usefulness, until he took on an apprentice named Louis Daguerre. The two of them were really making progress in making photography possible when Niepce died, leaving Daguerre to take credit for the invention and name it after himself. In 1839, the very first Daguerreotype was developed. The workings were very complex, "[it] required a copper sheet to be plated with silver and then exposed to iodine vapors, which produced the light-sensitive emulsion, silver iodide. The plate was exposed in a portable camera obscura, then 'developed' by exposure to mercury vapors, and finally 'fixed' in a bath of hyposulphite of soda (Davenport)," .
and this general chemical process has been used to develop film ever since.