The first portrait 1840

John William Draper was an American who was born in England in 1811. Like many other scientists of his time he worked in many scientific fields, he was a doctor, chemist, philosopher and historian. When the invention of photography was announced in The French Academy of Sciences in 1839, he was one of the first Americans to become involved with the new instrument. His knowledge of chemistry helped him  improve Daguerre’s method and this resulted in exposures of about 60 seconds in sunlight.

Among the first images he had taken was a photo of his sister Dorothy Catherine Draper which currently is considered to be the first portrait in the history of photography. This photo became known to the ​​public when Draper sent a copy of the image to Sir John Frederick William Herschel in 1840 to demonstrate the improvements he had made in the process of daguerreotype.

first portrait

John William Draper was also the first photographer who took pictures of the moon, but we will talk about this in a following post.

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