Thursday, November 17, 2011

The first photographs of people

The first permanent photograph (later accidentally destroyed) was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. His photographs were produced on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea, which he then dissolved in white petroleum. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light. The unhardened material may then be washed away and the metal plate polished, rendering a positive image with light regions of hardened bitumen and dark regions of bare pewter. Niépce then began experimenting with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1727 that silver nitrate (AgNO3) darkens when exposed to light. [via Wikipedia]

Nicéphore Niépce's earliest surviving photograph of a scene from nature, circa 1826, "View from the Window at Le Gras," Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (France).

"Boulevard du Temple", taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839, was the first-ever photograph of people. 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 exceptions are the two people in the bottom left corner, one who stood still getting his boots polished by the other long enough to show up in the picture.

Robert Cornelius, self-portrait, Oct. or Nov. 1839, approximate quarter plate daguerreotype.
The back reads, "The first light picture ever taken." This self-portrait is the first photographic
portrait image of a human ever produced.

Before the recent discovery of the Cornelius photo, this was the oldest known photograph portrait,
made by Dr. Joseph Draper of New York in 1840. The subject is his sister, Anna Katherine Draper.

A calotype print showing the American photographer Frederick Langenheim (circa 1849).
Note, the caption on the photo calls the process Talbotype

Roger Fenton's assistant seated on Fenton's photographic van, Crimea, 1855

General view of The Crystal Palace at Sydenham by Philip Henry Delamotte

Mid 19th century "Brady stand" photo model's armrest table, meant to keep portrait models more still during long exposure times (studio equipment nicknamed after the famed US photographer, Mathew Brady)

First color image, photograph by James Clerk Maxwell, 1861

A photographer appears to be photographing himself in a 19th-century photographic studio. Note clamp to hold the poser's head still. A 1893 satire on photographic procedures already becoming obsolete at the time

2 comments:

  1. These are as spooky as they are fantastically cool!

    Thanks for sharing ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, Robert Cornelius was pretty hot...

    ReplyDelete