Snapping mirror self-portraits may have gotten a huge boost from the introduction of digital photography and smartphoneography, but it is by no means a new activity limited to our era. The photograph above was created back in 1917 — nearly 100 years ago! It was snapped by an Australian flying ace named Thomas Baker when he was 20 years old. Read more…
Just in case this question ever comes up while you’re playing the world’s hardest game of photography trivia, what you see above is the first photograph ever snapped in Finland. Mats Söderlund of The Crop Factor writes,
This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd. The photograph is a daguerreotype [...] It was taken in Turku, which ironically also is Finland’s oldest city [...] The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken [...]
As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were a gallery of the first photographs shot in each country on Earth?
Indiana university historian Patrick Feaster recently discovered a record featuring the voice of Emile Berliner — inventor of the phonograph. Created in 1889, the record is likely the oldest in the world. What’s interesting, however, is how Feaster managed to obtain it: through a photograph. That’s right, Feaster discovered an image of the disc preserved in an old 1890 German magazine from the same year and then was able to recreate it by scanning and analyzing the photo. Read more…
The 120° panoramic image (and its crop) you see above is titled “Daguerreotype View of Cincinnati” and was captured in 1848 by Porter and Fontayne from Newport, Kentucky. It was created with eight full-plate daguerreotypes and shows a two mile stretch of the Cincinnati waterfront. Codex 99 writes,
The panorama is not only the first photograph of the Cincinnati waterfront but the earliest surviving photo of any American city. It is also the earliest image of inland steamboats, of a railroad terminal and of freed slaves. It may very well be one of the most important American photographs ever taken.
Photographer Christian DeBaun of Charlottesville, Virginia captured this photograph that shows six living generations of daughters. The oldest is 111-year-old Mollie Wood, who was born in 1901. The youngest is 7-week-old Braylin Higgins. You can find more images from this photo shoot here.
Behind the Gare St. Lazare is one of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s best known photographs, and is frequently cited as an example of his “decisive moment” approach to photography. The photograph was made in 1932, but the oldest known print is dated 1946. That print will be sold at a Christie’s auction on November 11th along with 100 other signed prints, and is expected to fetch up to ~$250,000.
While Nikon Corporation was established in 1917 (as Nippon Kōgaku Tōkyō K.K.), the company was a lens manufacturing company and didn’t make the first Nikon branded camera until 1948. The first camera was named the Nikon I, and started with serial number 60922. On May 28th, Nikon I No. 60924 will be auctioned at the Westlicht Photographica auction. This is the third Nikon production camera ever made, and the oldest known surviving Nikon camera. Bidding starts at €70,000 (~$100,000), and the camera is expected to fetch up to €160,000 (~$230,000). Some lucky (and wealthy) camera collector is going to be the owner of a rare and beautiful piece of photographic history.
In 1836 Louis Jacques Daguerre, a French artist and chemist, invented the first practical camera, the daguerreotype. Shortly thereafter, Daguerre’s brother-in-law Alphonse Giroux began to produce the cameras that Daguerre invented, and one such camera has now surfaced and will be auctioned.
The camera was made in Paris in September 1839, and is being called the world’s oldest camera. The 170 year old antique will having a starting price of €200,000 ($281,440) when it is auctioned at the end of May, but is expected to fetch at least €500,000.