In 1826 or 1827, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the world’s first image in a camera, or at least the earliest known surviving photograph. “View from the Window at Le Gras” was taken from an upstairs window on the photographer’s country estate in Burgundy, near the town of Chalon-sur-Saône, France, and it changed the world forever.
France is one of 30-plus countries represented in the Europeana Collections’ Europeana Photography database, where currently one can explore 2,312,925 digitally resourced items from European collections. The works come from archives, museums, galleries and libraries all across Europe, and there are some extraordinary pieces for viewing—some are free to use, as they’re in the public domain, while others are protected by copyright.
The Europeana Photography archive is curated by the Photoconsortium, an international association for the promotion of photographic heritage, and the overall Europeana Collections includes Art, Fashion and Music archives, as well, with a staggering 53-million-plus items—photography, artwork, books, music and video from across Europe—searchable on a single site.
The website is a fascinating portal into the history of photography. Check out the Europeana Photography collection here. The Europeana Collections website can be found here.