So, here goes.
Modern photography began in the 1820s with the first permanent photographs. In fact in the header image of this page, is the first accepted photograph. As you can see, the image is of a (17th Century) Flemish engraving showing a man leading a horse. It was made by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1825.
The science and art of photography is the result of combining a series of technical discoveries, made over the centuries: A sealed box (a camera) that allowed light for a fixed period onto a celluloid film; a method of developing the film; a method of enlarging the film onto paper treated with special light sensitive paper (Gelatin Silver or Platinum are the methods still most commonly in use), and a salesperson who can flog (sell) the finished prints.
More recently, generically described "digital" cameras are in widespread use. These devices capture images to a sensitive CCD or CMOS sensor circuit, and the light photons are digitally copied (ie, as a series of "0"s and "1"s) to a storage card. These images are uploaded to a computer, where they are processed, usually with overpriced software, and printed with either cheap or expensive printers. Astrophotographers affectionally call their cameras "Photon Buckets".
Long before the first photographs were made, Chinese philosopher Mo Ti described a pinhole camera in the 5th century B.C.E.
Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965–1040) studied the camera obscura and pinhole camera.
Albertus Magnus (1139-1238) was an amazing man of his time. He was also known as Saint Albert the Great, and Albert of Cologne. He was a Dominican friar and bishop who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. He is considered to be the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages. He was the first among medieval scholars to apply Aristotle's philosophy to Christian thought. The Roman Catholic Church honors him as a Doctor of the Church, one of only 33 persons with that honor. With regard to photography, he.discovered silver nitrate, an important ingredient in film development.
Georges Fabricius (1516-1571) discovered silver chloride. They both probably died from their efforts. This stuff is toxic.
Daniel Barbaro described a diaphragm in 1568. The diagram is a very important piece of a real camera, in that it is the mechanical eye that opens and closes at specific speeds to allow light onto the film or sensor.
Wilhelm Homberg described how light darkened some chemicals (photochemical effect) in 1694.
“You know, that rays of light reflected from different bodies form pictures, paint the image reflected on all polished surfaces, for example, on the retina of the eye, on water, and on glass. The spirits have sought to fix these fleeting images; they have made a subtle matter by means of which a picture is formed in the twinkling of an eye. They coat a piece of canvas with this matter, and place it in front of the object to be taken. The first effect of this cloth is similar to that of a mirror, but by means of its viscous nature the prepared canvas, as is not the case with the mirror, retains a fac-simile of the image. The mirror represents images faithfully, but retains none; our canvas reflects them no less faithfully, but retains them all. This impression of the image is instantaneous. The canvas is then removed and deposited in a dark place. An hour later the impression is dry, and you have a picture the more precious in that no art can imitate its truthfulness.”