Here is a collection of the first known photographs of world events or other things. I've seen a couple of these before, but many of them were new to
me. I particularly like the photo of the gentleman drinking beer. Would love to have a print of this to hang in my bar at home. Enjoy.
One of the earlier photo-pioneers, Hippolyte Bayard (1807–1887) was persuaded to postpone announcing his photographic processes to the French
Academy of Sciences by François Arago, a friend of Louis Daguerre, who invented the rival daguerreotype process. Arago’s dealings cost Bayard the
recognition as one of the principal inventors of photography. He eventually gave details of the process to the French Academy of Sciences on February
24, 1840 in return for money to buy better equipment.
As a reaction to the injustice he felt he had been subjected to, Bayard created the first staged photograph entitled, Self Portrait as a Drowned Man.
In the image, he pretends to have committed suicide, sitting and leaning to the right. Bayard wrote on the back of his most notable photograph:
“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.”
He managed to send the death picture to his antagonists with this suicide note attached to the back. Two years later, the Societe d’Encouragement
pour I’Industrie Nationale gave Bayard 3,000 francs. Today, death features large in war, disaster and famine photography and it usually sends a
stronger message. With a 12 minute exposure, Bayard did just that by playing dead 170 years ago.
Mirror-reversed Image of the daguerreotype attributed to John W. Draper, believed to have been taken March 26, 1840 from his rooftop observatory at
New York University (at Wooster and 4th Streets).
Chess game 1841
Nicolaas Henneman Contemplates His Move in a Game of Chess, September 1841
Unknown officer and three mounted soldiers of the Leith Fort Artillery
Edinburgh Ale by Hill & Adamson
Leg amputation of sergeant Antonio Bustos, practiced by the Belgian surgeon Pedro Vander Linden, who is holding the amputated leg, during the
Mexican-American war, it is considered the first daguerreotype of an amputation on the battlefield
Southworth & Hawes American, Massachusetts, early 1847 Daguerreotype
Arrest & News Photo 1847
A daguerreotype made in 1847 of an arrest in France. It is thought to be the first ever news photograph.
Chartist Meeting 1848
The Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, April 10, 1848, photograph taken by William Kilburn. Black-and-white photograph with applied
This photograph of the 1848 revolution is a precious document; it was taken during one of the four days in June which left several thousand dead among
the insurgents and the government forces in Paris. Its exact date and the name of the photographer are known (an amateur photographer who lived in the
Popincourt district?) from the engraving published in L'Illustration of 1-8 July 1848 and in the special issue of the magazine Journées illustrées
de la révolution de 1848, published in August 1848.
Clear Moon 1852
View of the Moon by John Adams Whipple 1852
Inauguration of James Buchanan, President of the United States, at the east front of the U. S. Capitol Albumen print, March 4, 1857
Felice Beato (British, born Italy - Two Sepoys of the 31st Native Infantry, Who Were Hanged at Lucknow, 1857
Aerial Boston 1860
Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It. James Wallace Black (American, 1825–1896)
Confederate Inauguration 1861
Jefferson Davis’s inauguration as Confederate president at the Alabama state capitol, Feb. 18, 1861.
Observation Balloon 1862
Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862.
One of the oldest known photographs of a tornado. It is probable this image has been "doctored" from the original. At this time, the oldest known
photograph of a tornado was taken on April 26, 1884 at Garnett, Kansas.
Lightning Strike 1882
By Philadelphia photographer and Franklin Institute member William Jennings on September 2, 1882. Jennings pioneered the use of the camera for
investigating lightning - he was particularly interested in documenting its physical shape and the varied patterns it took on.
The Hawaiian beach boy is photographed wearing a traditional loin cloth and shown standing in the shallows holding his rudimentary board.
Fatal Plane Crash 1908
During flight trials to win a contract from the U.S. Army Signal Corps, pilot Orville Wright and passenger Lt. Thomas Selfridge crash in a Wright
Flyer at Fort Myer, Virginia. Wright is injured, and Selfridge becomes the first passenger to die in an airplane accident.