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.
Odds are neither of them ever knew they were making history that day.
[Click to enlarge]
Below is a detail of the photo.
Click here for more musings [delusions?] on this photo.
A tip of the Hokumburg Homburg to Fuhrmanator for finding what the same spot looks like today via Google Maps. Scroll down and read his comment to find a link. [click to enlarge]
Update: a reader named Lunar Studio has done a colorized version of the photo which he claims makes it clearer. He did a very nice job and I wish I had stumbled on his comment earlier. Go here to check out his work. —Gig
That is so cool!
In following the musings, I'll take a shot at placing this on Google Street view. It's obviously not easy, since it was taken in 1830s and from some altitude. The trees aren't the same, and probably neither are the buildings (or at least their facades). I used a map from http://historic-cities.huji.ac.il/france/paris/maps/stockdale_1800_paris.html as well as the direction of the shadows in the photo.
Very cool, Fuhrmanator! I wish I would have thought of that. I'll try to get a screen shot and add it to this post right away.
Thanks for the tip of the hat! I should have put a stronger disclaimer that my photo is a guess based on some deduction.
This photo was printed in a Time-Life science book back in the 1960's, pointing out the first human to be photographed. I think it was also listed in the Guinness book of World Records, back when it was a thick, fact-filled paperback.
Thanks for the info. Don't remember how I stumbled upon it. I remember when I was a kid going to the encyclopedia to look something up, and that entry would lead to something related and on and on until I'd forgotten what I was looking for in the first place. If you're not careful, the Internet can be like that old encyclopedia. Just a tad bigger. But easier to hall down to the coffee shop.
I may be delusional, but it appears the man is wearing a three cornered hat and frock coat. I wasn't LOOKING to see that, but there it was.
I've viewed this photo several times and have always thought there is also a child looking toward the camera in the top left window. If you view the picture on wiki you can zoom in better.
is there also not a man sitting on the bench to the right of the shoe shiner?
that is so awesome
As I look at the Paris photo, I see what looks like two people sitting on a bench next to a sappling twenty feet to the right of the shoe shining.
There is 2 children on the corner of the flat roof with thier dog in the midst of the smoke.
Also, The dark blotch in the road is the first time the incredible Hulk was caught on camera.
To the right of the shoe shine man is a grocer (Cartman) with his cart
Wouldn't it be cool if, in the present day photo, there was a shoe shine stand on that corner?
it was said if a person moved they could not be photographed. this picture shows a man walking out of a store located on the left side of the picture. zoom in
W.O.W!!! I dont really have anything to say. lol. But this ish is ah-maz-inG Ha
"RIGHT ON"! - Happy 172nd anniversary......
"First photograph of a human being"
I guess just the guy getting his shoes shined is a human being... and the shining them isn't?
there's a whore sucking a guys cock 20 ft to the right of the shoe shine
wow thats a big cock!!
First PORNO pic ever!!!
ahhhh pair-reeeeee! (Paris with a pepe-le-peu extreme french accent)!!!
Just above the man is a person standing by a tree. If you zoom in about 2 inches above him, you will ee what appears to be a person standing in front or behind a tree.
How about the girl peeping out the window?
There looks to be a person in the window to the right of the light colored window.
I used the wiki version of this picture to see more, great post Hokum.
this is awesome!
There is four people in the photo. One more sitting on chair and one in back of the house
There is four people in the photo. One more sitting on chair and one in back of the house
The image of this person is so clear despite the distance and the time it took to actually CAPTURE a full image. Impressive.
i have been down this street before. aint nothin but dog poop and beer and liquor bottles and bums there now. for real.
If you look to the tall building on the right with a white roof and black smoke stacks, just below that roof line, it is a lighter brown area that looks to be a bench on a rooftop with a man in black sitting there.
There's one thing about all this that bugs me... I'm aware of albumin prints and such, but the information said it was produced on a chemically treated metal plate. I'm familiar with acid washing copper plates, then printing them, but the amalgamation of the word "photograph" and "metal treated plate" complicates things (in my brain). If it's metal treated in an acid bath, it's not a photograph since it's hand drawn, which means he could've added people whenever he wanted.. either something's wrong here (plausible), or there's a way to photograph onto metal plates that I'm not aware of (more plausible).
Very Cool!!! Thanks
Thanks to Fuhrmanator for providing a current view of the street. That is totally cool. Must have taken you a long time to figure it out.
The original photo of the first shoeshiner and his customer is really cool too. I love old photos like that. I also found a cool photo, the first picture of a barmaid ghost at an old abandoned saloon:
So has this guy been referred to as the "first human being photographed" since 1838? And has he been aware of this status if so...
I decided I'd also do an image analysis of this tonight, and ended up with a colorized version that helped me separate the noise of the image. I think there's some interesting results we can infer:
Please feel free to link to this article and image if you would like.
On the right of the standing man there seems to be another bench If you look closely it looks like there are 3 people sitting there just talking. One of the guys ( facing the camera ) looks like he has his left arm on the table. Haha so weird!
This has no relevancy to anybody today. Thank you for distracting people from what they ought to be thinking about.
AND you can clearly see the grassy knoll and the location of the second shooter......
Sorry to ruin it all but the location ain't right. First of all, it's a mirror image. So it can never be the corner shown on Google Maps.
It was taken from his atelier/studio in Rue de Marais which no longer exists thanks to Baron Haussmann's great renovation of Paris. More information about his studio and diorama can be found here:
An analysis of the image can be found here:
An extensive analysis of the location can be found here:
There is a second man standing on the opposite side of the road too, if you look closely you can see his foot, leg, body and head.
Fortunately the man on the present picture is not the last man photographed. Else these two pictures would really be history... Get it?
loloroflmao @ Peter. You sir, you got me. You got me!!
this is so cool!I LOVE history and seeing photos like that is really fascinating to me!:)
This is a photograph of the first TWO humans ever. Even if the "shoeblack" is not distinct, he is visible, and he existed then and his image exists now. Probably.
This is what i see:
-the guy getting his shoes shine, the guy shinning the shoe
-it looks like 2 people sitting on the bench to the right of the "shoe guy"
-a kid peeking through the window at the building to the right of the "bench people" (the first window at the top) he's going "ahh"
-the person sitting on top of the roof
I think that this method involved reversing the image, so the google street view location you have could totally be accurate, but if you didn't already it should actually be turned 180 degrees. Just a thought... I'm no expert or anything I just picked up that tid bit on wiki that the process reverses the picture.
I posted a couple of days ago that the Google street view was wrong (I also read on the wiki page that it's a mirror image). I'm not sure why the post didn't appear.
I flipped the photo horizontally and began the process of browsing Google Street View anew. There are only 3 or 4 intersections on Boulevard du Temple in Paris that could be this image. My last "guess" is now going to be at the very end, looking from Place de la République (which probably wasn't named that in the 1830s).
The location I now propose is visible at .
If someone has more time, looking up where the photographer actually lived might give a clue. Boulevard du Temple on Google Maps is short (technically ends at Rue des Filles du Calvaire). Perhaps in the 1830s the name extended further onto Blvd du Beaumarchais. It's pretty much a musing to find this :)
Was that lady really talking on a cell phone?
OK, here's some proof the photo was taken from Daguerre's residence:
As it is the continued stream of light that acts upon the metal, fixed objects only can be delineated: "the foliage of trees," again to quote M. Arago, "from its always being more or less agitated by the air, is often but imperfectly represented. In one of the views, a horse is faithfully portrayed, except the head, which the animal had never ceased moving: in another, a decrotteur (shoe-black), all but the arms which were never still." The slight or occasional motion of objects does not, however, invalidate the process; for, says the Athenaeum correspondent, "in one view of the Boulevard du Temple, taken from M. Daguerre's own residence, a coach and horses are introduced with the most literal and lineal exactness."
Wikipedia says that Daguerre's image is actually a mirror. So wouldn't the cross street in the modern day photo turn the other direction?
Micvhael J. Agee - lady in 1929 Charlie Chaplin film clip with what appears to be a cell phone (sold to her by the way through BlackStar Cellurlar) was not possable evevn if time travel was. this is because the technology to drive its operation would not have been in place to operate it, towers satillites computers etc....!!!!
Says: "Pin-pointed on the south side of rue Léon Jouhaux just off the north corner of Place de la Republic..."
Close up of the plaque
guys amazing input....
Haha... All the sleuth work was done quite well on this blog: http://www.stanford.edu/~njenkins/archives/2007/08/traces.html. There are actually TWO images, done at different times. So if you want to know how many people are in the photos, check this out.
What a wretched life it must have been back then.
I am a pro photographer. I would not be surprised if the man in the photo is Daguerre himself. If I knew the exposure was going to be 10 minutes long, I would remove the cap to expose the plate, run to my selected spot where I would be easily seen in the photo, pose there for about 8 minutes, run back to the camera and place the cap back on to end the exposure.
what would be 'awesome' would be to find out who it was, if we had the exact date and a journal entry about having a shoeshine, but it is probably impossible.
A Daguerreotype is not hand-drawn. It's a type of photograph produced on metal..."an early photographic process; the image was produced on a silver plate sensitized to iodine and developed in mercury vapor". We most likely wouldn't be making all this fuss about it if it was just a hand drawing.
It is Bush's fault it was not found sooner!
Very inpressive pictures. To me I think I see a child Head on the first white building on the window on the left. It looks like it's peeking out.
It's a great photo ~ But I'm curious why you're characterizing this as "the first human being to ever have his picture taken. There is also the very faint image of the bootblack."
Isn't this really a photo of the first two people ever photographed? Or is the bootblack somehow a non-person?
there's a naked lady in one of the windows
This image does not appear to be a mirror image. There is an advertisement on one of the buildings and there appears to be a an uninvited number 7 and possible number 3.
There seems to be two gentlemen also sitting facing toward the camera ; CHeck the first row of trees closest to the building ,second tree,please comfirm for me.
At any given moment, someone somewhere is taking the LAST known photograph of a human being.
My first guess is that it is not a shoe shine, but a water pump. Looks like a pump handle too.
I saw the water pump too...was just going to write that when I saw the post before me.
Definitely a hand pump style water pump.
This is absolutely amazing detective work you have done here. I read about this post over at the blog on NPR.org. A++, thanks for adding something intestesting to my day!
Wow, it is really great to see something that was done at its first time, like photography. I am really amazed by your findings regarding this photo.
I'm not positive, But I ~think~ that this photo may be mirrored. Flipped left to right.
Look at the billboard on the side of that building and then take the photo and mirror it in a photo program. It seems to look more like letters that can be read. For instance, I think I see 104 and "De" on the left which is French of course.
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