Saturday, April 28, 2007

The First Person Ever Photographed

Saw this photo on Wiki the other day and thought it worthy of posting (click to enlarge).

"Boulevard du Temple", taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839, was the first-ever photograph of a person. It is an image of a busy street, but because exposure time was over ten minutes, the city traffic was moving too much to appear. The exception is a man in the bottom left corner, who stood still getting his boots polished long enough to show up in the picture.

This photo is ironic for several reasons:

1) Daguerre, the photographer, probably didn't know anyone would show up in the photograph. A very happy accident!

2) the first person ever photographed didn't even know their picture was being taken.

3) the first person ever photographed is unindentified; they might have been important, or not. We'll never know. Given how photography and video have become so pervasive in modern society—and how having one's picture taken unknowingly is so commonplace—it seems fitting that the first person ever photographed remains forever anonymous.


Anonymous said...

Looks like he's filling a bucket with water.

Anonymous said...

It's all shadows because judging from other shadows, he would have on behind him, but he doesn't.