PetaPixel

First Ever Photograph of a Human Being

This photograph of Boulevard du Temple in Paris was made in 1838 by Louis Daguerre, the brilliant guy that invented the daguerreotype process of photography. Aside from its distinction of being a super early photograph, it’s also the first photograph to ever include a human being. Because the image required an exposure time of over ten minutes, all the people, carriages, and other moving things disappear from the scene. However, in the bottom left hand corner is a man who just so happened to stay somewhat still during the shot — he was having his shoes shined.

It’s interesting how sheer luck earned the guy a place in the history of photography. Too bad we’ll probably never know his identity.

(via NPR)


 
 
  • Aa

    Does he look like a newborn to you?

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  • Nighthawk5676

    The first was a year earlier and was called, Niépce’s View from the Window at Le Gras in 1826.

  • Sherry

    Um…first TWO people…there is a shoe shine boy there, too.

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  • Candee

    Thank you Nighthawk5676. I was JUST going to say. I believe some of his exposure times were 8 hours long. Crazy.

  • http://www.cabogolftours.net Cabo Golf Packages

    TOO cool. I love these old photos, simply love ‘em.

  • Beti1948

    “The guy shining the shoes isn’t human.” Right. I’m sure that’s exactly what the author is saying. Sheesh.

    As the article stated, everyone else in the street was moving and so were not discernible. I’m guessing the shoe shiner would be moving quite a bit more than the recipient. I can see a dark area next to the guy who is presumably getting his shoes shined but taken alone, I wouldn’t be able to say for certain that this is a person. We probably think looks like a person only because we can the other guy standing there.

  • Guus Peek

    Suppose we would know his name, monsieur Lagrange par exemple, so what? The guy is dead, he was just a regular man like millions and millions of others, liked his shoes clean. The photo is extraordinary (good), the fact that we, in this very moment, can see what Daguerre saw at that very moment (he is as much if not more part of the photo as the shou shiner and the fellow with the dirty boots) so long ago, that to me is the triumph of this daguerrotype

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  • Gabriel

    no, people are those who can pay for things.

  • photostudent

    actually, this isn’t a random passerby. This photograph took well over 6 hours to expose, and this person was paid to stand there by daguerre to be captured. it is likely one of his assistants or children.

  • Jim

    Who is shining the shoes? I assume a person so isn’t there TWO people being photographed?

  • Gillean666

    What about the evangelist praising the lord next to the tall chimney on the roof of the tall building on the left?

  • Anonymous

    eh, arent it 2 people then? the boy who does polish the shoes is in the same spot for the same amount of time, only moving a bit more

  • Girl

    “Because the image required an exposure time of over ten minutes, all the people, carriages, and other moving things disappear from the scene.”

  • Girl

    “Because the image required an exposure time of over ten minutes, all the people, carriages, and other moving things disappear from the scene.”

  • Anomonous

    shopped

  • Observant One

    You can totally see the shoe shiner to his right, arms and all

  • Mira448899

    Actually i think it was a person and one of those water spouts or whatever they are called

  • Chetoflep

    Sure we’ll know his identity. Just… ENHANCE!

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  • right grrrl

    his OR HER identity, you mean

  • Dsdsssa54

    glad to see the picture.1837 was more livable i see!!

  • JT

    There are 3 people in that image, there is a man sitting at a table to the right of the other two

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  • DietCokeHead

    The shoe shiner is there he is just very blurred, compared to the nearly motionless man having his shoes shined.

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  • Thelud

    My thought also…perhaps the mindset was one of that workers are invisible!

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  • MySherona

    Er…what about the guy shining his shoes or does he not count as a human….

    Just saying.

  • UNKnown

    -.Thee picture is okhaee but it could haue been better..Just a thouqht :)

  • Patrick

    Let me know when you find the first-ever photo of Obama telling the truth. Now, that would really be rare.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ETJTXCBV52GVFEYM26JRO2C2PE Charlie H

    Clearly this is Captain Morgan….and he’s got a little captain in him.

  • Stupidity Slayer

    That’s why they said “at least.” That accounts for the age that person already is OBVIOUSLY.

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  • Anonymous

     They never count the staff or workers.

  • tom

    cheque not check

  • Cdmurray88

    We have these crazy spelling rules in the states… Here it’s check, not cheque, honor and color, not honour and colour, etc…

  • Cdmurray88

    We have these crazy spelling rules in the states… Here it’s check, not cheque, honor and color, not honour and colour, etc…

  • sahil

    no because only a posed person was considered for this photograph. that man stood for the entire ten minutes without moving

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  • Edwardradford

    Very interesting post, but a little inaccurate. Recent examination of the Shroud of Turin has reveled, what is actually, the first ever photograph. Tests have revealed that the image on the shroud was made using light. That it is actually a negative. All evidence suggests that the image on the Shroud of Turin is in fact of Leonardo De Vinci. By, in fact, the man himself.

  • bailey

    my thoughts also thanks sherry,getting his shoes shined,by who a ghost?

  • Kittycat232

    If hé was having his shoe shined, then there are two people on this photo…

  • Kittycat232

    If hé was having his shoe shined, then there are two people on this photo…

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  • Ryan

    you mean caption underpants

  • colourblind

    Hmmmn…, I see a black man with his right leg raised while poking his ass…

  • Sweetstephanie

    Women didn’t wear pants back then.. or jackets with coat tails. Definitly a man.