Do you love pictures? I do, though not as much as I love history. These pictures marry the two, and, you guys, I really don’t think you’ll be sorry you scrolled through these bad boys.
If you are, well…my bad.
French inventor Nicephore Niepce took this photograph in 1826, which makes it the first picture ever taken from nature. It was called View from the Window at Le Gras. The exposure lasted 8 hours, resulting in the sunlight illuminating the buildings on both sides. The image was taken on a metal plate that still exists, although the plate is now in pretty bad shape, making it hard to see the original photo. This is a retouched reproduction:
Captured in 1825, this is the earliest known photograph taken from an existing artwork, in this case a 17th century engraving showing a man leading a horse. It was also taken by Nicephore Niepce using the heliography process that he invented – the same process that he later used to captured View from the Window at Le Gras.
Boulevard du Temple is the first photograph known to contain a human being: the guy in the lower left corner happened to be getting his boots shined, which meant he stayed still for long enough to show up in the picture. It was taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838. The exposure time at this point was reduced to just 10 minutes, still too long for anything moving (like traffic) to show up.
In late 1839, someone finally sat still long enough for the first photographic self-portrait. Robert Cornelius used a quarter plate daguerreotype procedure, which was new at the time, but still required that he remain motionless for 10-15 minutes.
By 1855, photography had improved significantly. This photo was taken by British photographer Roger Fenton during the Crimean War – it shows his assistant sitting with Fenton’s “photographic van.” He’s considered an important historical photographer, and a full exhibition of his works has been shown in London.
This 1893 photograph was created by taking multiple-exposures in a studio, making it look like the photographer is taking his own portrait.
The first permanent color photo was taken in 1861, by photographer Thomas Sutton, who based his process on methods proposed by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell’s in 1855. The image is of colorful Scottish tartan ribbons.
By 1872, we’d figured out subtractive color photography, which gave us colors like cyan, magenta, and yellow. This one, called Landscape of Southern France, was taken by Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron.
Pretty cool, no? From here, we moved into the 20th Century: moving pictures and technicolor and, of course, the kind of color photographs we take for granted today. But I’m stopping because you can see those on Facebook and Youtube and stuff.
h/t: Smashing Lists
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