Nicephore Niépce shot the first photograph from an upper, rear window of the Niépce family home in Burgundy, in the village of Saint-Loup-de-Varennes near Chalon-sur-Saône.
He had discovered that bitumen of Judea, a kind of asphalt, turned grey and hardened when exposed to light. He also figured out that the unexposed bitumen could be washed away with linseed oil.
One day in 1826, he coated a pewter plate with bitumen, attached it to the back of a camera obscura, and pointed it out the window. The photograph took eight hours to make. During the exposure, the sun moved across the sky, illuminating both sides of the building.
View from the Window at Le Gras, Joseph Nicephore Niépce, 1826
In the photo, you can see the frame of the open glass window on the left. Beyond that is a lofted section of the home, referred to as the pigeon house. To the right is a pear tree. A barn roof slants through the center of the image. The long roof and low chimney of the bake house are behind. On the right is another section of the house.
Niépce referred to his invention as heliography, or drawing of the sun.
Original Heliograph, 8” x 6.5”, University of Texas at Austin