We see photos everywhere every day, but have you ever wondered what the first photo looks like? Here we have collected 19 of the oldest photos that will change the way you see the past.
The image was shot by Joseph Nicephore Niépce outside a window of his estate at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France in 1826. To create this image, he used a technique called “heliographic”, using pewter plate and bitumen. If you look closely, you can see faint outlines of where a building or architectural feature is.
As you can see, Niépce’s heliographic technique couldn’t produce high-quality photos. In the 1830s, he teamed up with Louis Daguerre and developed the “Daguerreotype” method, which used silver iodide plates and mercury fumes. Pictured here is the first reliably dated Daguerreotype photo taken in 1837.
This was taken by Louis Daguerre from his home. He refused to reveal his Daguerreotype technique to the world until 1939, when the French government offered him a lifetime pension.
There is a person polishing another individual’s shoes by the street.
An American photographer named Robert Cornelius took this self-portrait in an outdoor yard in Philadelphia in October 1839.
This was taken by English scientist and historian John William Draper in 1840.
It was taken by Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski on July 28, 1851, at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), Prussia.
This temple was said to have been built in the fifth century B.C..
In 1847, a group of doctors in Boston gave a man named Edward Gilbert Abbott anesthesia.
The photo was taken by photographer Mathew B. Brady, showing the view of a Cheyenne village at Big Timbers. Now it is preserved in the Library of Congress.
It was taken in 1848, showing the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Technically, this is not the first aerial photo. It is recorded that photographer Nadar shot the first aerial photo, but he lost it. The photo we see here was taken in Boston on October 13, 1860.