Tag Archives: Boulevard du Temple Paris

The first photo of a man 1838

In the early days of photography, it required  a long period of time of exposure to capture an image. (See the first photo that needed 8 hours of exposure).

These long exposure times resulted in anything that moved could not have been recorded in images. So the first pictures were either landscapes or still life. Even though the first photographers were taking pictures of the everyday life of a city, people could not be captured because of the long time exposure.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre with his photographic method that was later called Daguerreotype, managed to reduce these exposure times. In 1838, he had already managed to have pictures taken outside in the sunlight with only 10 minutes exposure. In one of his first photographs though almost nothing alive has been recorded, if we look at it carefully we will see two people standing relatively motionless during the exposure. It’s an image of a shoe polisher and his client standing upright.

first human photo

This photo from the Boulevard du Temple in Paris in 1838 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, was the first photograph that had ever recorded people and for this reason this photo will remain forever in history. A humble French shoe polisher with his box at his position on the sidewalk at the corner of Grand Boulevard and his dandy customer!

I have referenced an enlargement of the original image  in which you can get a closer look of these two people.

first man photo