What is the oldest photograph we sill have?

I’ve wondered this for a long time. I’ve also wondered why it isn’t as famous as other “firsts”.

Oh, post a link to it if there is one. Thanks!

A quick google provides this link to the
first photograph by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Lithographs predate this.

Some other interesting daguerreotypes from the 1830s and 1840s include:

Still Life in Studio (1837)

Fossils (1839)

Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man (1840)

Early Operation Under Ether (c. 1847)

Porno in Stereo (c. 1850)

Courtesy of this site.

i don’t suppose anyone would be able to give a difinative answer, but i was wondering the other day who the earliest born person to have a photograph taken of them was. that probably doesn’t make sense, so how about:
going through some family photographs, i came upon one that had a great great grandfather, born 1850 or so. so here’s a picture of someone who lived through the civil war. amazing. then i realized that there’s probably pictures of someone who was born in the late 1700’s, possibly even born before 1776.
i think this came about from listening to NPR’s lost and found sounds CD. there’s a piece on there, recorded in the early 1930s i think, of a guy recounting the time he was at gettysburg and heard Lincoln give the address. it really brings history home.

so, anyone have pics of people born in the 18th century? (i guess that’s the proper question)

One of my cousins has a very washed out image of my 4th great grandfather who was born c. 1800, borderline 18th century. But there should be those who are much older.

If the first image was recorded onto asphalt in 1816, then it’s unlikely you have family photos that pre-date that. Still, very early family photos are to be treasured and- I hope- preserved in an acid-free environment… very cool.

Cartooniverse, who is currently enjoying a torrid love affair with B&W 3200 ASA film…

In High School I was shown reprints of photographs (lithographs?, daguerreotypes?) of two very old men who were veterans of the Revolutionary War. One of them was a 12 year old drummer boy in the War, the other was like 14 years old and supposedly rode in the boat with Washington as they crossed the Delaware. They would have been born in the early 1760’s.


Here’s a self-portrait of Robert Cornelius, born 1809, photo taken in October, 1839, considered by the Library of Congress to be the first photographic self-portrait. That’s a remarkably fast technology transfer from Paris to Philadelphia, but it’s possible that some patient French fellow beat him to the punch as the first person to be portrayed on film (or Daguerre, or whatever the hell you call it), despite the Library of Congress’ boisterous claim. At the time of Cornelius’ effort, the process took three to fifteen minutes, and no doubt some luck.

Here’s John McAllister, Jr., his soul stolen from him on May 6, 1840, who at first glance appears to have spawned in the eighteenth century.

Samuel Morse, pimp of the Morse code, but definitely not the inventor of the telegraph (don’t f@(% with the Prince of Mathematicians ) as my soon-to-be-excoriated Library of Congress incorrectly states, was enough of a, um, “technophile” to sit down for that dissimilar camera obscura in 1845. Morse, while trying to sell his own device, ran into Daguerre at the modern-day equivalent of CeBIT in 1839 and appears to have brought the design for the Daguerreotype home with him. He was born in 1791.

I’d be a little suspect of that photograph of Revolutionary War veterans, unless they happened to be one of these fellows from the 1862 rolls of surviving Revolutionary war pensioners. And in fact, there is a possibility that one or more of them was photographed. This page appears to offer a photograph of Lemuel Cook, a veteran who was born in 1759 and died in 1866. Apparently, a May 31, 1948 edition of Life magazine displayed some photographs of Revolutionary War veterans, but I cannot find the photos on the web.

WShat about the shroud of Turin?

Oh that? That’s just a souvenir.

I heard a news item within the past 7-10 days ago re: someone having just purchased what is believed the world’s oldest known photograph.

I always thought the oldest daguerreotypes dated to around 1832-1835 or so. This news report, IIRC, said the recently sold photo dated to around 1810-1815, which shocked me. Not sure if it was a daguerrotype, but they did say “photograph.”

Check it out–and let us know. Maybe Duck Duck Goose will work her magic and find the cite for us.

I saw a notice about this in the Boston Globe a week or two ago. There was a reproduction of the picture, which predated Niepce’s famous “rooftop” picture. I hadn’t heard about or seen this picture previously. It’s certainly not a daguerrotype, predating Daguerre’s work. I don’t recall who did it, or what the subject was.

Sure you’re not thinking of this recent story about the world’s oldest known news photograph? The link doesn’t include the actual image; it’s a picture of several barricades on a narrow pre-Haussmann Parisian street during the 1848 revolution.

I’m sure I heard something about the 1810-1815, which instantly made me wonder why someone hadn’t snapped a few photos of Thomas Jefferson, Adams, Madison & Monroe.

Who was the first U.S. president actually photographed? Was it van Buren?

This is all I can find:


Some years ago André Jammes had the opportunity to acquire a seemingly unassuming reproduction of a 17th century Dutch print together with an extensive series of autograph manuscript letters by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and his son Isidore. Niépce is recognised for his discovery of the first viable photographic process. His earliest surviving images date to 1826-27. Jammes had discovered an image that pre-dated these. The Niépce correspondence that accompanied the print gave a full, detailed account, step-by-step, of the processes by which Niépce eventually achieved his momentous discovery. The print, discussed and enclosed in a letter from Isidore to their correspondent, is the only surviving testament to Niépce’s triumph. He had at last, in the summer of 1825, achieved his objective of using the power of light alone to make a plate from which an image could be printed.