1771 — 1805
Thomas Wedgwood, a son of Josiah Wedgwood of pottery fame, was an English inventor. He is the first person known to have created impermanent pictures by capturing camera images on material coated with a light-sensitive chemical. His practical experiments yielded only shadow image photograms that were not light-fast, but his conceptual breakthrough and partial success have led some historians to call him “the first photographer”.
He studied the researches of Johann Heinrich Schulze who, in 1727, discovered that silver nitrate darkened upon exposure to light. He created what are now called photograms, a photographic image that is made without a camera. Objects are placed directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive photographic paper and then exposed to light in a darkroom. The paper is then developed by using light-sensitive chemicals in the darkroom. He was unable to make them immune to the further effects of light. Unless they were kept in complete darkness they would eventually darken all over.
Thomas Wedgwood suffered imperfect health throughput his life and died at the age of 34.