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January 8, 2016

Here Are 21 of the Very First Photographs of the World That You May Never See Before

The history of photography has roots in remote antiquity with the discovery of the principle of the camera obscura (a dark room) and the observation that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light.

As far as is known, nobody thought of bringing these two phenomena together to capture camera images in permanent form until around 1800, when Thomas Wedgwood made the first reliably documented although unsuccessful attempt.

In the mid-1820s, Nicéphore Niépce succeeded, but several days of exposure in the camera were required and the earliest results were very crude. Niépce's associate Louis Daguerre went on to develop the daguerreotype process, the first publicly announced photographic process, which required only minutes of exposure in the camera and produced clear, finely detailed results. It was commercially introduced in 1839, a date generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography.

Here's a gallery of 21 photographic ‘firsts’ from over the past two centuries.

1. The world's first photograph taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, 1826.

2. This is believed to be the oldest photograph taken in the USA; Central High School in Philadelphia, by Joseph Saxton, 1839.

3. Born 1746, photo from 1840, Hannah Stilley is probably the earliest born person photographed.

4. First color photograph taken by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, 1861.

5. First gay couple photographed together.

6. First photograph of animals taken at night by wildlife enthusiast George Shiras, ca. 1906.

7. First photograph of New York City, 1848.

8. First photograph of people, 1838.

9. First photograph of the earth from the moon as seen by Lunar Orbiter 1, August 23rd, 1966.

10. Photograph of world's first tele objective in 1900.

11. Photograph of first pig to fly, 1909.

12. Photograph of John Quincy Adams, first U.S. president, photographed in 1843.

13. The first aerial photograph taken in Boston from a hot air balloon in 1860.

14. The first color landscape photograph titled 'Landscape of Southern France' taken by Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron, 1877.

15. The first photograph taken in space, 1946.

16. The first photograph of lightning taken by William Jennings, 1882.

17. The first photograph of the moon was taken by John W. Draper on March 26, 1840.

18. The first photographic portrait image of a human ever produced, 1839.

19. The first rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, July 1950.

20. The first Sun photograph taken by French Physicists Louis Fizeau and Leon Foucault on April 2nd, 1845.

21. The oldest photograph of the Great Sphinx, 1880.


  1. Agreed . . . But the fact that I'm only the second to comment says quite a bit about what is of interest in a world of almost 8 billion who many millions have just looked a Justin Bieber and whatever the fuck her name is today alone.

    1. Agreed . . . But the fact that I'm only the second person to comment on this says quite a bit about what is of interest in a world of almost 8 billion people, who many millions have just commented on a Justin Bieber and (whatever the fuck her name is) photo today alone.

    2. Agreed, people don't appreciate what the past set up for us.

  2. agreed, people don't give a toss about the past even though it paved the way and laid the foundation for many of the worlds modern innovations.




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