vintage, nostalgia and memories


June 1, 2017

Taken in 1899, Here's the World’s First Ever Underwater Portrait


Louis Boutan captured one of the first ever underwater portraits ever and it was taken sometime in 1899 in Banyuls-sur-Mer in the South of France. Louis was considered to be a photography pioneer and he proved it once and for all with this photo of Romanian oceanographer Emil Racovitza.

Seeing that his exposures—ironically enough, taken on “dry” plates—had to run as long as 30 minutes to capture the proper amount of light, Boutan began to develop a flash photography rig that could easily double as a bomb.


The creation involved an alcohol lamp on an oxygen-filled barrel. A rubber bulb would then blow a puff of magnesium powder over the flame, creating a flash. From there, Boutan kept iterating his cameras and flash rigs, improving on his initial creation.

This portrait was likely taken in this way given how sharp the text on the placard (which reads “Photographie Sous Marine” or “Underwater Photography”) and the grass at the diver’s feet is.


(via PetaPixel)

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