A man and a service worker shining his shoes are the first humans ever photographed

The 1838 photograph required a seven-minute exposure, long enough that people and horses passing through this busy Parisian street leave no trace. But one man stopped long enough to have his shoes shined as Louis Daguerre stood above with his lens open. That man and his shoeshiner are the first humans captured in a photo.

This is the scene as Daguerre saw it and as his lens caught it. The photographic print was a reverse, with the street swooping on the left, adding to the surreality.

At least, that’s what they tell me here. I haven’t cross-checked any of this.


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