This is the First Photo Ever Uploaded to the Web

What you see here is the first image ever uploaded to the World Wide Web. It’s a graphic featuring a promo shot for comedy band Les Horribles Cernettes, and was uploaded almost exactly 20 years ago by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Motherboard has the interesting story behind the photo:

So when Berners-Lee and his team cooked up a new edition of their still-primitive World Wide Web system, one that could support photo files, he went a few steps from his workstation to ask de Gennaro for a Cernettes-related image. The Web had already used a few small vector image files to show off schematics, but Berners-Lee and his team needed a guinea pig for the leap into photos.

Lucky for him, de Gennaro had been toying around with a scanned .gif version of the July 18th photo, using version one of Photoshop on his color Macintosh. The .gif format was only five years old at the time, but its efficient compression had made it the best way to edit color images without slowing PCs to a crawl.

The image was added to a webpage about musical acts at CERN (where Berners-Lee worked), and was probably less viewed than the same image on physical posters around the lab. The Mac that housed the original .gif file died around 1998, and the photo faded into obscurity.

Crossdressing, Compression and Colliders: The First Photo on the Web [Motherboard]

  • Yavuz Yilmaz

    But the thing is we can’t see it. :/

  • Stephan Zielinski

    Quibble: it may have been the first photo on the World Wide Web– the first image one could get via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol on port 80. However, the Internet predates the World Wide Web by decades: TCP/IP internetworking was in place from 1973 on.

    Tracking down what image was first available via (for instance) FTP over the greater Internet would be tricky.

  • Mansgame

    Maybe it’s the first image to the web, but to say it’s the first image on the internet is an absolute joke and completely ignorant. FTP was around long before the WWW. For as long as digital pictures were around, they were being sent on the internet and the old school BBSes. Heck, even the Usenet groups were sending picture files using UUenconding.

    I know I’m not THAT old.

  • srsly

    cool pedantry bro.

  • Jeffrey Friedl

    It’s not pedantry… the completely-wrong word was used. It’s like saying “The Ford Model-T was the first wheeled vehicle ever!”. We know what you intended to say, but that doesn’t make what was actually said any less moronic.

  • rtfe

    that’s my mom in the red!

  • Michael Zhang

    Updated the post. Thanks!

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks :)

  • Mansgame

    Wow I didn’t know anybody ever paid attention to the comments on here. Thanks for fixing the subject :)

  • branden rio

    Pedantry would be pointing out that the Model T wasn’t really the first anything ever, except maybe the rather subjective First “affordable” car.

  • richardgatarski

    Good, but the URL is still wrong, and perhaps meta/seo info too.

  • Dazam

    Is that Michelle Bachmann on the left?
    I recognize those crazy eyes anywhere.

  • Paul R

    I remember working with the
    first version of Adobe Photoshop for Windows… It was such a dog.
    Ulead/Aldus PhotoStyler was SO much better, and in 1990 I believe, they
    came out with ONE layer!! It was amazing! It literally changed
    everything. A few years later Adobe bought Aldus (and PageMaker) and
    incorporated the layers function into Photoshop… Haven’t looked back
    since… LOL!

  • Photographer Durango CO

    It looks like they were cut out and moved to a different background.

  • Gnacca

    Nice mom dude!

  • rtfe

    thanks, her number is 212-239-8977

  • Mike Fulton

    The headline clearly says “web” not “internet”.

  • Michael Zhang

    We edited the title after the comments :)