Sun pictures: Henry Fox Talbot and the first photographs

The invention of the photograph, in 1839, would forever change the way people looked at the world. But this extraordinary breakthrough cannot be credited to a single individual—while William Henry Fox Talbot labored quietly in England, Louis Daguerre toiled separately in France, with the announcements of their discoveries coming weeks apart. Learn about the unusual pursuit that led Talbot to his crucial innovation.

Pioneers of Photography

What was photography before film and photographic paper? Before shutters and adjustable apertures? The pioneers of the medium had to experiment and invent. They had to build their own precision equipment and mix reactive chemicals. This series explores the intrepid personalities who toiled in the dark to bring the nascent art of photography to light.

Projects + Perspectives

Find out more about the people and stories that make up SFMOMA. We love what we do and want to share it with you!