The likes of these photos are practically a dime a dozen these days, yet the originals will always have their special places in the history of photography!
A little over a month ago we shared with you some of the most fascinating firsts in photography, all of which happened within the century that photography by means of a camera was developed. From that point on, countless innovations have already been made. Have you ever wondered how some of the first photographs of certain things look like? Read on to find out!
First photo of the Earth taken from Space
It was in October 1946 when people had their first glimpse of our home planet as seen from space through photographs. According to Air & Space magazine, these “were taken from an altitude of 65 miles by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera riding on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range” in New Mexico, USA. According to reports, the camera was destroyed when it fell back to Earth shortly after its ascent. Thankfully, though, the film encased in a steel cassette survived.
First news photograph
Little is known about this news photograph. From what we have gathered, it was taken in France sometime in 1847, and also holds the distinction of being the first snapshot depicting an arrest. We can only wonder who these people were and for what crime this fellow was arrested for.
Oldest existing aerial photograph
This, technically speaking, isn’t the first aerial photo to have been taken (credit goes to Frenchman Gaspard-Felix Tournachon) but since Tournachon’s work are said to be lost, James Wallace Black and Samuel Archer King’s Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It is being regarded as the oldest existing aerial photo. It was taken on October 13, 1860 from 2,066 feet in the air.
First photographic hoax
Think photographic fakes existed only recently? Apparently, this has already been happening as early as the 19th century! According to stories, French photography pioneer Hippolyte Bayard created this staged hoax, Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man, in 1840 to express his feeling of being subjected to injustice. Apparently, a friend of Louis Daguerre of the famed daguerreotype process managed to convince him to postpone the announcement of his own innovations before the French Academy of Sciences – a move that cost him recognition for being one of the proponents of photography. Anyway, the following text was written at the back of the photo:
The corpse which you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process that has just been shown to you. As far as I know this indefatigable experimenter has been occupied for about three years with his discovery. The Government which has been only too generous to Monsieur Daguerre, has said it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard, and the poor wretch has drowned himself. Oh the vagaries of human life….! … He has been at the morgue for several days, and no-one has recognized or claimed him. Ladies and gentlemen, you’d better pass along for fear of offending your sense of smell, for as you can observe, the face and hands of the gentleman are beginning to decay.
First photo of the moon
After a number of experiments in astrophotography with the use of the daguerreotype, New York University professor John W. Draper took this mirror-reversed image of the moon in its last quarter from his observatory located at the rooftop of NYU’s main building. This image was said to have been developed on March 26, 1840 and made public on April 13.
This article was based on 20 of the First Photographs of Things via Shooting Film. Additional information in this article were sourced from Air & Space, Hippolyte Bayard on Wikipedia, and Greenwich Village History.