"I have the satisfaction of being able to tell you that through an improvement in my process I have succeeded in obtaining a picture as good as I could wish…. It was taken from your room at Le Gras with my biggest camera and my largest stone. The objects appear with astonishing sharpness and exactitude down to the smallest details and finest gradations. As the image is almost colorless, one can judge it only by holding it at an angle, and I can tell you the effect is downright magical."   —Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's letter to his brother, Claude. 16 September 1824.

with thanks to Julie Born Schwartz