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The earliest known surviving heliographic engraving, printed from a metal plate made in 1825 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce using his "heliographic process". The plate was exposed under an ordinary engraving. Heliography was also used to capture a scene directly from nature with a camera.
Comparison between the original engraving and the heliography of Joseph Nicephore Niepce. left: Engraving of Portrait of Georges d'Amboise, 1650 right: Heliography (Heliogravure) of the engraving, 1826
Niépce prepared a synopsis of his experiments in November 1829: On Heliography, or a method of automatically fixing by the action of light the image formed in the camera obscura which outlines his intention to use his "Heliographic" method of photogravure or photolithography as a means of making lithographic, intaglio or relief master plates for multiple printed reproductions.
He knew that the acid-resistant Bitumen of Judea used in etching hardened with exposure to light. In experiments he coated it on plates of glass, zinc, copper and silver-surfaced copper, pewter and lithographic stone, and found it resisted dissolution in oil of lavender and petroleum, so that the uncoated shadow areas could be traditionally treated through acid etching and aquatint to print black ink.
The exposed and solvent-treated plate itself, as in the case of View from the Window at Le Gras, presents a negative or positive image dependent upon ambient reflection, not unlike the daguerreotype which was based on Niépce's discoveries.
The word has also been used to refer to other phenomena: for description of the sun (cf. geography), for photography in general, for signalling by heliograph (a device less commonly called a heliotrope or helio-telegraph), and for photography of the sun.
The abbreviations héliog. or héliogr., found on old reproductions, may stand for the French word héliogravure, and can then refer to any form of photogravure.
^ ab"The First Photograph -- Heliography". Archived from the original on 2009-10-06. Retrieved . from Helmut Gernsheim's article, "The 150th Anniversary of Photography," in History of Photography, Vol. I, No. 1, January 1977: ...In 1822, Niépce coated a glass plate... The sunlight passing through... This first permanent example... was destroyed... some years later.
^Dyson, R. W. (Robert William), 1942- (1987), Specialty polymers, Blackie ; New York : Chapman and Hall, p. 102, ISBN978-0-412-01551-9CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
^Bonnet, M., & Marignier, J.-L. (2003). Niépce, correspondance et papiers. Saint-Loup-de-Varennes: Maison Nicéphore Niepce
^Michael Peres (2007), The Concise Focal Encyclopedia of Photography From the First Photo on Paper to the Digital RevolutionPaperback (1st ed.), Focal Press, p. 85, ISBN978-0-240-80998-4
^M. Hepher (Fellow) (1964) The Third Fishenden Memorial Lecture: The Photo-Resist Story--From NiéPce to the Modern Polymer Chemist, The Journal of Photographic Science, 12:4, 181-190, DOI: 10.1080/00223638.1964.11737246
^Krongauz, V. V. (Vadim V.), 1953-; Trifunac, A. D. (Alexander D.), 1944- (1995), Processes in photoreactive polymers, Chapman & Hall, ISBN978-0-412-98401-3CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
^Marignier, J. L. (2003). Niepce: l'invention de la photographie. Belin, Paris.
^Hannavy, J. (2008). Encyclopedia of nineteenth-century photography. New York: Routledge.
^Descriptions of the sun, photography in general, and signalling by heliotrope: Oxford English Dictionary 2nd ed. (1989) s.v. "Heliography". Photography of the sun: As used by and in discussion of Hiroshi Yamazaki.