I’m not sure if he was ready for his closeup, or who he was, or if he knew he would be the subject of my blog post some 172 years after this photo was taken but here is, quite brilliantly, the first ever human being ever photographed.
I am a lover of vintage photography. I collect it. I marvel at it. I go to auctions to watch people wheel and deal in it. Imagine my delight at seeing this beauty:
Michael Zang at PetaPixel.com (@petapixel) showcased this object of obscurity in a blog post and explained why the shadow of a man in this photo has earned a unique place in history. Made in 1838 by Louis Daguerre of Boulevard du Temple in Paris, this photo is supposedly the first one ever to capture a human being. Here is Zang’s explanation of the genius of this photo:
“Aside from its distinction of being a super early photograph, it’s also the first photograph to ever include a human being. Because the image required an exposure time of over ten minutes, all the people, carriages, and other moving things disappear from the scene. However, in the bottom left hand corner is a man who just so happened to stay somewhat still during the shot — he was having his shoes shined.”
I just might make a Facebook fan page in honor of this man/shadow/ghost (I hope he wasn’t a criminal).