ile de la cité, Maps

The First Human Photographed

The Real FIRST Photo of a Human?

First of all.. Can I just say how much my mind is blown when I read into little historical details? I lost myself over two hours hunting through online archives of Louis Daguerre, the Father of Modern Photography- and I’m thoroughly tickled.

Here is allegedly the FIRST photo of not one but TWO humans, and how perfect is it that the first outdoor picture in Paris also is on the city’s oldest bridge, The Pont Neuf? Can you spot the people?

Sprawled out on the steps leading up to the famous statue of King Henry IV appears to be a couple dry humping but is more likely maintenance workers taking a break after working on the statue. (If you look extra close you can see the shadows of their PBR Tall Boys)

Spotted! We see you

How can you tell?

Their work bench and tools are behind them and upon closer inspection, they aren’t wearing skirts. (Damn You Patriarchy) But there’s more magic! Comparing this photo shot by Daguerre and partner Joseph Fordos to the same location (and the same building!) shot in modern times by photographer JR- is just mesmerizing.

Photo by JR

You can see the coupole of the Bibliothèque Mazarine on the left, and the Grande Gallerie of the Louvre on the right. The original 9 arched metallic Pont des Arts rises almost alien-like in the distance; the one we know today was built in the 1980s.

Is anyone else geeking out that this photo is from nearly 200 years ago?? It’s like Inception Style Photography.

We can almost see the eyes of people that might have seen the French Revolution which happened only 50 some years prior, with their eyes! (Unlikely yes, but lets take it back another level to their parents’ eyes! Or their grandparents! Ok ok I’m reactivating my totem before my imagination traps me into 18th century France)

While there are controversies regarding the validity of the date, (it’s current home at the Musée des Arts et Metiers dates it from 1836-1839) based upon its reference in letters written by Daguerre in January 1838- recent studies agree its very likely this “photo” was done before the famous Boulevard du Temple one in spring of 1838.


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