If you pay close attention to presidents, or money (or preferably both in this case) you may have noticed that one particular famous photo of President Abraham Lincoln taken in 1864 was the inspiration for the photo we now see on the five dollar bill. But you may have also noticed that the President’s mole is on the wrong side of his face on the money. Well actually it isn’t, the “mirror image” on the five dollar bill shows the President as he was in real life. The original photo, taken using an old technique called daguerreotype, is a mirror image.
Not unlike the tintype photography we posted on earlier in the week, daguerreotype yields a one-off positive on a photosensitive plate. The downside of this type of photography and the lack of a negative is that the final image is at the mercy of the lens optics, leading to the mirror image you see above. So remember, the mole was on the right side of Lincoln’s face… just in case a fifth grader gets indignant telling you otherwise.
Why Lincoln’s Mole Was on the Wrong Side in the Original Five Dollar Bill Photo [Camera Technica]
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons
Check out Google’s homepage: the doodle today celebrates the 224th birthday of Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype and one of the fathers of photography (the others are Nicéphore Niépce, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Thomas Wedgwood). Daguerre was born on November 18, 1787, and unveiled his daguerreotype process at the French Academy of Sciences in Paris in 1839, when he was 51 years old.
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.