This Could Be The First Human To Be Photographed

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Take a close look at this photo. It was supposedly taken by Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype, on the streets of Paris in 1838. And it might just be the earliest photo to include a human subject.

In case you were wondering, Hokumburg Goombah has an explanation as to why we don't see a crowded Parisian day in this image:

To achieve this image (one of his earliest attempts), [Louis Daguerre] exposed a chemically treated metal plate for ten minutes. Others were walking or riding in carriages down that busy street that day, but because they moved, they didn't show up. Only this guy stood still long enough-maybe to have his boots shined-to leave an image.

Other primitive forms of photography had preceded this picture by over a decade. But this anonymous shadowy man is the first human being to ever have his picture taken. There is also the very faint image of the bootblack bent over his work.


It's silly in a way, isn't it? A simple, common action made that man a huge part of photography history. [Hokumburg via The Atlantic]