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The First Photograph of a Human

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the fist-cheese dept.

Graphics 138

wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"

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Cat (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044584)

Okay, the first photo of a human, whatever.

But now I want to see the first photo of a cat. Ideally one with a caption.

Re:Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34044674)

I want to see the first porn ever made. Then I want to see it banned because it could be of a 17 year old (damn Victorian era bullshit)!

Re:Cat (5, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044848)

You're an AC, and probably joking too, but the earliest Daguerrotype pr0n was, according to livescience.com two years earlier than this:

"Technology drove innovation in the porn genre. In 1839, Louis Daguerre invented the daguerreotype, a primitive form of photography. Almost immediately, pornographers commandeered the new technology. The earliest surviving dirty daguerreotype — described by Slade in a 2006 paper as "depicting a rather solemn man gingerly inserting his penis into the vagina of an equally solemn and middle-aged woman" — is dated at 1846."
Source: http://www.livescience.com/culture/pornography-history-erotica-sexuality-101011.html [livescience.com] (no, no pictures, PSFWUYWFAR)

Re:Cat (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045096)

So really, the first picture of a human was porn, and not the picture in this article? That's awesome!

Re:Cat (3, Informative)

Snowgen (586732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045166)

So really, the first picture of a human was porn, and not the picture in this article? That's awesome!

No. You made the mistake of reading the summary and thinking that somehow reflected what the fine article said. It's a common mistake here. If you actually take the time to read the rather brief article itself, you will find that the first photo of a human was in 1838.

Re:Cat (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046198)

Well, in all honesty I was joking. I guess since I didn't post as AC, my intent was lost. That's what I get for trying for Funny.

Re:Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045518)

Actually, it was earlier and not by Daguerre.

In fact, the Wright Brothers got it first, but didn't felt compelled to publish their results.

That's because they planned to offer the airplane to the Army -- and the camera was an option for the top-of-line version.

[parody]

Re:Cat (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045128)

You're an AC, and probably joking too, but the earliest Daguerrotype pr0n was, according to livescience.com two years earlier than this:

"Technology drove innovation in the porn genre. In 1839, Louis Daguerre invented the daguerreotype, a primitive form of photography. Almost immediately, pornographers commandeered the new technology. The earliest surviving dirty daguerreotype — described by Slade in a 2006 paper as "depicting a rather solemn man gingerly inserting his penis into the vagina of an equally solemn and middle-aged woman" — is dated at 1846."
Source: http://www.livescience.com/culture/pornography-history-erotica-sexuality-101011.html [livescience.com] (no, no pictures, PSFWUYWFAR)

Greatgreatgrandma?????

Re:Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045430)

GGGILF

Re:Cat (2, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045196)

You're an AC, and probably joking too, but the earliest Daguerrotype pr0n was, according to livescience.com two years earlier than this:

Yes, well, if the submitter had bothered to RTFA, he would have found that the 1848 one is not the one claimed to be the first photo of a human. It seems that examination of the 1848 photo lead to examination of another photo in 1838 with a person visible in it.

Re:Cat (1)

Nugoo (1794744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045282)

(no, no pictures, PSFWUYWFAR)

Pretty
Safe
For
Work
Unless
You
Work
For
A
R... epublican?

Re:Cat (1)

aaaantoine (1540357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045312)

(no, no pictures, PSFWUYWFAR)

Huh?

I Googled this acronym, and the only results that came back were references back to this Slashdot post.

Re:Cat (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045424)

(no, no pictures, PSFWUYWFAR)

Huh?

I Googled this acronym, and the only results that came back were references back to this Slashdot post.

I am guessing Perfectly safe for work unless you work for a retard ?

Re:Cat (1)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045768)

Probably Safe For Work Unless You Work For A Religious-extremist? Russian?

Re:Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045636)

Probably Safe For Work Unless You Work For A Reverend...
Republican?
Rastafarian?

Re:Cat (-1, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044874)

Catholicism is not Christian. Catholicism cannot get anyone into heaven, because catholicism teaches works for salvation, and that is a false gospel of works (Galatians 1:6-9) that is against JESUS'S free gift of salvation!

And catholicism will not give you a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Jesus, which is what JESUS wants with you! So, you need to get away from catholicism, and instead, to believe in JESUS for His free gift of eternal life in heaven! John 3:16! :D! It's clear from the Book of Acts in the Bible that catholics didn't even exist during the days of Acts. And the SEVEN CHURCHES in Revelation, all of which existed before 100 AD, NONE of them were catholic! Catholicism didn't exist for over 300 years after Jesus. And catholicism didn't exist for over 200 years after the Bible was complete and compiled. Those in the Book of Acts are the first Christians, and they believed what would be called fundamentalist doctrine today. ANYONE can read the Book of Acts for themselves and see. Had catholicism existed during the time of Acts, the first Christians would have rejected catholicism completely.

Also there's TONS of Christians who also completely rejected catholicism, long before Martin Luther was even born. Catholicism murdered millions and millions of Christians. :*( So not only is it wrong for anyone to say that "catholics were the first Christians", but this blows away the catholic claim that "no churches existed other than the catholic church, until Martin Luther".

Every "pope" is a false prophet. And there is no "pope" in the Bible. There were ALWAYS saved believers outside the catholic cult, who knew catholicism cannot save anyone.

Catholicism cannot save. Only believing in Jesus for His free gift of salvation, is what saves! So, catholics need to get away from catholicism, and instead, to believe in JESUS for His free gift of eternal life in heaven!

Jesus is God, and Jesus loves you so very much! :D And the Trinity is true! The truth about Jesus is that the only way to be saved and to get into heaven and avoid being sent to hell, is by believing in JESUS for His free gift of eternal life in heaven, believing in faith alone that Jesus, who is God, died on the cross for all our sins as FULL PAYMENT for all our sins, and then Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Believe in Jesus for His free gift of salvation, and you will be in heaven, no matter what! John 3:16, John 6:47! :D

Salvation is a FREE GIFT that happens in a split second when you believe in JESUS for His free gift of salvation! It is impossible to lose or "leave" salvation (John 6:39-40, John 10:28, 1 John 5:13). Please pray now: "Jesus, I believe that You died on the cross to pay for my sins and that You rose from the dead, and I thank You for eternal life!" You will be in heaven with Him forever when you die! :D

Re:Cat (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044890)

Boeing, boeing, gone?

Re:Cat (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34044958)

Just because MrEricSir has an unhealthy obsession with cat daguerrotypes does _not_ make him a catholic.

I'm certain he can quit any time he wants to.

Re:Cat (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045688)

I'm in a support group for catholics and dogholics.

Re:Cat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045082)

Catholicism is not Christian. Catholicism cannot get anyone into heaven, because catholicism teaches works for salvation

No it doesn't. Just because you saw a heresy on "Lost" doesn't mean that's what Catholics actually believe. Catholics believe that all you have to do to go to heaven is repent and ask for salvation. The sacraments are just signs that you are "pure" -- don't have any sins you haven't repented for.

Re:Cat (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044986)

But now I want to see the first photo of a cat. Ideally one with a caption.

Here you go, from 1905, the "What Delaying My Dinner?" cat:

http://icanhascheezburger.com/2008/12/01/funny-pictures-oldest-ever-lolcat-found/ [icanhascheezburger.com]

Re:Cat (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045616)

I was about to post it, but you beat me to it! Absurdly close to the modern lolcat!

Re:Cat (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045704)

Someone needs to tell that cat: "Keep your fork, there's pie"

Re:Cat (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045840)

That might be the oldest lolcat, but there are definitely [wikimedia.org] older pictures of cats.

Re:Cat (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046380)

No, I asked for the oldest photo of a pussy, not a cat!

Re:Cat (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045320)

L-old cats?

Re:Cat (1)

Runacta Munac (1901022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046220)

But if you zoom in really tight, you can see who it is - it's Waldo!

Re:Cat (1)

JDmetro (1745882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046308)

No it is your mother I do believe.

Re:Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046388)

I laughed out loud when I read this. Brilliant.

I was hoping for an actual person. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044644)

The snaps in the article make it clear that you have to really dig to find what you're after. I was hoping for a full picture of someone. Either way, it's amazing how far we've come in terms of photography (and technology in general).

We can afford to throw away shots. Compared to the film days, that's a big deal.

Re:I was hoping for an actual person. (1)

kiwijapan (1293632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045394)

I was hoping for a photo of the first human .... how knows, maybe in another 100-200 years or so (mind you, gotta figure out the whole time travel thing first)

What I find more interesting... (4, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044670)

...is that 162 years later we take digital pictures that don't have the resolution to allow visible-light microscopy-level zooming.

Zoom and Enhance (4, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044836)

You're mistaken there. I was watching CSI and visible-light microscopy-level zooming is nothing.

Re:Zoom and Enhance (1)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045022)

Uncrop!

Visible-light microscopy (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044862)

What will they think of next!

Re:What I find more interesting... (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044960)

Well, the techniques are definitely different. While this photograph is defnitely very high resolution, you likely had to wait ten minutes for the image to be firmly etched into the plate. Would be really hard to take a shot of the World Cup... though you would likely get a good shot of the World Series.

Re:What I find more interesting... (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045052)

The shift to digital is an interesting one.

We lose a good deal of data even going to . It's possible to take a standard 35mm print (standard photo album size) and extract enough useful information during developing to make prints that look actually pretty damn good at, say, 11x17 or 24"x36" or even larger poster formats as long as the film was good quality, because it's a relatively analog photo (only constrained by the grain of the film itself).

At the same time, for easy copying and storage space and shorter-term editing ability, the digital photo does wonders.

The uniqueness of the first man captured on film being there because he was, quite literally, just sitting still the entire time the daugerrotype was exposed is a marvel.

Part of the major loss with digital, however, is the amount of "thrown away" data. In the old days, photographers filming a busy scene would snap off roll after roll, then develop and check their shots later. I'm reminded of a famous basketball championship where a photographer only realized the next day, going through his rolls, that he'd captured a perfect pandemonium in which, in the midst of all the carnage, he had a perfect view of one of the coaches flipping off a ref. These days, all the other shots - which are actually just as important and form an interesting slideshow of the event - would probably just get deleted out of hand by the guy.

The other major loss with digital is the work put into staging and arranging a shot. The "well I'll try and adjust and if it doesn't work I'll just delete and go again and photoshop the light sources later" approach just doesn't have the same artistry as someone painstakingly getting it right the first time.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045160)

(only constrained by the grain of the film itself)

At what pixel density to we approach the finest grain film?
I thought we were well past that already. Perhaps I misunderstood?

But do we not also "Throw away" information when printing from film? Its such a selective process, exposure just so, or you lose the shadows. Paper also has grain. Is it fine enough?

Re:What I find more interesting... (3, Informative)

evilWurst (96042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045514)

With a little bit of searching, I come up with about 20 megapixels for a perfect shot on perfect 35mm film, 12 megapixels for a merely "good" shot. The best film scanners can go up to 36 bit color depth per pixel, also.

The best DSLRs I can find on newegg today are 21 megapixel cameras in the $6000 range and claim true 14 bits per color channel (which would be 42 bit color), so yes, it seems they've passed 35mm film.

The camera tier under that are about 18 megapixels and 22 bit color, for $800-$1300.

Keep in mind that to get that top quality data, you'd have to set the camera to save everything raw instead of using lossy compression, so the files will be huge. (A quick, rounded calculation says 110 MB per shot). 35mm film comes in 24 shot rolls, right? So that's 2640 MB for a roll-equivalent. For kicks, looking up the biggest and fastest flash memory card, I see a 64 MB card for over $600 that claims 90 MB/sec write speed. That's equivalent to 24 rolls of film (576 shots), though, and it's reusable. Cheap 35mm film looks to be about $10 for four rolls, so $60 for the same number of shots, but I don't know what higher quality film costs and I'm not sure how to find out. Still, you've come out ahead with the memory card if you fill it more than ten times. Oh, and I left the cost (time and/or money) of developing and scanning the film.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

evilWurst (96042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045536)

I need to preview more. 64 GB flash card, not 64 MB.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045720)

64 MB card for over $600 that claims 90 MB/sec write speed.

Overkill. Also not the way RAW works.

RAW only has one color sample per pixel. So you need to divide your numbers by 3. So more like 30MB per shot.

As to your $600 CF Card... no. You can get a 64GB - 60MBs write speed card for $150. Cameras have buffers so you can shoot burst and fill the buffer before needing to write to card. Most cameras can't shoot beyond 3 FPS. Before your buffer fills you could shoot on burst a few seconds of shots with a 60MB card.

You're spending about twice as much for the medium. But like you said developing and scanning is where you get hit. Think $15 a roll if you want 22 megapixels with 36bit color. So 24 rolls will set you back about $300 for procsesing. About twice a CF Card.

Careful with those numbers... (4, Informative)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046460)

With a little bit of searching, I come up with about 20 megapixels for a perfect shot on perfect 35mm film, 12 megapixels for a merely "good" shot. The best film scanners can go up to 36 bit color depth per pixel, also.

I've seen so many different numbers given by so many people on this question that I've basically stopped believing all of them. It's a complicated issue; the general opinion, however, is that APS-C digital cameras are as good or better than 35mm film cameras in practice.

One of the reasons the issue is complicated is because the results you get depend on how you perform the comparison. Let's assume that you take two photos of the same scene, using the same lens at the same aperture, but one photo is taken on the film camera and the other on a digital camera with the same frame size. How are you going to compare the photos? Here's three ways you could do it:

  1. You could scan the film on a film scanner, and compare the scan image file to the digital camera's file. But then the problem you have is that the film scanner might fail to reproduce all of the detail on the film. For example, many film scanners have aliasing effects that magnify the appearance of grain in some conditions.
  2. You could make a print from each of the photos, and compare the prints. The problem then is that unless you scan the film (introducing the problems detailed above), you're going to have to use two very different printing methods for the two photos; a digital print for the digital photo, and a traditional darkroom print for the film one. But now the results are a function of the print method as much as the capture type. And, it's a subjective comparison.
  3. You could put the film on a light table and examine it with a magnifier, and compare it by eye with the digital photo displayed on a monitor at the equivalent magnification relative to the sensor size. This is probably the best, but the comparison is subjective again.

And I'm sure that somebody who knows this stuff better than me can pick this apart...

The best DSLRs I can find on newegg today are 21 megapixel cameras in the $6000 range and claim true 14 bits per color channel (which would be 42 bit color), so yes, it seems they've passed 35mm film. The camera tier under that are about 18 megapixels and 22 bit color, for $800-$1300.

You're assuming that the number of megapixels is an accurate representation of the amount of detail (spatial resolution) that the camera can reproduce. It is not; it's an upper bound on the amount of detail that the camera can reproduce, and nearly every digital camera falls significantly short of its sensor's resolution limit, due to the anti-aliasing filters used to eliminate color moiré artifacts, which basically blur the image at the sensor.

But wait, there's more!

  • The amount of detail captured is as much a function of the lens as it is a function of the sensor. There's a physical upper limit on how much resolution you can get from a lens of a given aperture, and of course, lenses are also imperfect devices. Today's 18 to 24 megapixel digital cameras are actually starting to hit the upper limits on the amount of detail lenses can reproduce.
  • The 21 and 24 megapixel cameras you cite have a larger sensor than the 18 megapixel models. Larger sensors tend to lead to more detail, because the lenses are larger, and at the same print or display size, they're less demanding on the lens.
  • Nearly all digital cameras use Bayer-pattern sensors [wikipedia.org] , which means that the amount of detail captured is color-dependent [ddisoftware.com] . Those 18MP cameras are actually 9MP green, 4.5MP red and 4.5MP blue.

Re:What I find more interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045618)

For regular 35mm colour negative film, it can be argued that we passed the resolution a generation ago (about 12 megapixel full-frame - Canon 5D or Nikon D3). For 35mm colour transparency film, there are arguments, but I've seen it claimed to be around 20 megapixels full-frame (Canon 1Ds Mark III, Nikon D3x), but the debate rages. Some claim a Kodachrome colour transparency (arguably the finest resolution) runs around 50 megapixels, but it's the subject of a lot of argument. I've even seen it claimed to be 150 megapixels, but the argument sounded faulty. Venture into medium format and the arguments become even more inflamed.

It doesn't help that the two media expose differently. Film is fairly linear in the middle, but flattens out asymptotically at either end - some claim this to be better resolution, others call it one of the failures of film. Digital is linear throughout its range, and clips at either end (beyond white, beyond black).

As for the argument about throwing away images, I think digital has a huge advantage. Film rapidly gets expensive, so a film photographer is constrained. Digital memory is cheap. A digital photographer can (and often does) shoot 10 times as many images (or more), and reviews them later, in calmer conditions. The likelihood of finding a fortuitous shot (like that coach) is far higher when shooting digital. A digital photographer is extremely unlikely to delete images on the fly - that characterisation sounds like someone observing a newby, not a professional.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046856)

Depends what you mean by film.

We've already gone past the kind of detail you're likely to get out of the kind of 35mm film you used to buy and get developed down the local shop(though . However, medium format film has a dramatically larger surface area and large format film is substantially higher than that.

Large format film is 4 inches by 5 inches for a single frame, which if you take a minute to think about it is pretty damned high quality, if somewhat impractical for regular use.

Re:What I find more interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045330)

> Part of the major loss with digital, however, is the amount of "thrown away" data. In the old days, photographers filming a busy scene would snap off roll after roll, then develop and check their shots later

How is that a loss with digital? You can take as many (or more) shots now, and it won't cost you a fortune in film like it used to. You can save it all afterwards in less physical space too. 16 GB of flash memory is down under $50 now, holds hundreds of large pictures, and is reusable. 2 TB hard drives are just over $100 now and hold the contents of over a hundred of those 16 GB flash cards. Professional quality digital cameras are the same price as professional 35mm film cameras, too, and they're taking similar quality pictures too (comparable to high res scans of film). And if you're taking tons of pictures of an active event, it saves a lot of time and money to not need to develop all the film, too.

> The other major loss with digital is the work put into staging and arranging a shot. The "well I'll try and adjust and if it doesn't work I'll just delete and go again and photoshop the light sources later" approach just doesn't have the same artistry as someone painstakingly getting it right the first time.

I'm not sure that things have changed in that respect. Bad photographers were still bad before photoshop, and good photographers are still good today. (Plus the good photographers today can, as stated above, take a lot more shots, since a slight mistake only costs them time, not time + film.)

Re:What I find more interesting... (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045348)

Why would they get deleted out of hand? Keeping the digital image around is orders of magnitude easier than keeping around negatives or bothering to make prints from them and keeping those.

I would expect the digital camera user to also just shoot and shoot and shoot and check the photos afterwards as well. With the cost of each click being far less to boot.

Sure going through them afterwards is also going to be difficult due to the sheer volume. Whenever I dowload images from my camera they get put in YYYY-MM-DD folders and nothing ever gets deleted. A professional photographer is going to produce far more pictures but they also likely have far more disk space to burn too.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045664)

Or it's the same artistry--just being done on the computer.

Ansel Adams dodged and burned his photos in development. It's nothing new. We aren't to the point yet where you can just "photoshop all the light sources" yet but we will. And what's wrong with that? What's the difference between doing it on location where time is of the essence and electricity and lights might be scarce instead of capturing the composition and lighting in post?

You still have to have an eye for composition and lighting.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046048)

These days, all the other shots - which are actually just as important and form an interesting slideshow of the event - would probably just get deleted out of hand by the guy

I'm not a photog pro, but I have had the (un)fortune of browsing through my family's photos (all 1000s of them over a week's reunion) and selecting the best picture from a group that were taken as a quick 3 or 5 snapshot set. Certainly, there is a chance of missing the special image... the process is tedious.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046218)

Part of the major loss with digital, however, is the amount of "thrown away" data. In the old days, photographers filming a busy scene would snap off roll after roll, then develop and check their shots later. I'm reminded of a famous basketball championship where a photographer only realized the next day, going through his rolls, that he'd captured a perfect pandemonium in which, in the midst of all the carnage, he had a perfect view of one of the coaches flipping off a ref.

What? That doesn't make any sense at all! Every single digital camera I have seen in the last few years has a three or five shot mode, where every time you press the button it takes multiple shots! Hell, my N900 will even take multiple shots and stitch them together into an HDR image!

What you're talking about is basically one of the problems with film, not digital. Sure, professional photographers who developed their own photos and bought rolls of film in bulk could afford to take multiple shots, but consumers were far more constrained - they had maybe thirty shots on their camera, and once that was done they'd have to hope there was another roll in their backpack, and then they had to pay ~$10 to get the roll processed at the end of the vacation - and they paid for all the photos, even the shitty ones.

Digital changed all that. Now you can take a bajillion pictures during the day, look at them all on your laptop at night, and take another bajillion the next day - photos take up almost zero space on modern digital storage hardware, so why delete anything ever?

In short, what you just said there makes no sense at all.

Re:What I find more interesting... (3, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045046)

Speak for yourself when you say 'we'.

People who used daguerrotypes weren't exactly exactly numbering in the millions... the camera, plates, development equipment, etc. required cost a pretty penny even back then.

So let's take an objective look at things... I don't know which size that particular photo was, but one site on the interwebs lists as the largest daguerrotype plate a 6.5 x 8.5 inch plate. That's -huge-, but let's roll with it.

Now let's see what other photography equipment you're not likely to find with a typical tourist... how about a LEAF APTUS-II digital back? It's only 53.7mm x 40.3mm and has a resolution of 10,320 x 7,752 pixels.

Let's blow that sensor up to the size of that plate. The aspects don't quite match.. Losing a bit off the length there you're left with 52.7x40.3mm and 10,127 x 7,752 pixels.

So now on 8.5" we've got 10,127 pixels or ~1,191.4DPI and on 6.5" we've got 7,752 pixels or ~1192.6DPI.

Let's call it a round 1190DPI. I'd say that's pretty tight and you'd need at least a magnifying glass to see details no larger than a few pixels - which the blobby messes from the photograph discussed can pretty much be labeled as. (Note that the two photos in the article linked to are different photos - the detail from the photo referenced in the 'microscopy' section can be found on the original page: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2010/10/22/130754296/first-photo-of-a-human-being-ever [npr.org] )

That's not even counting large format digital camera backs or -scanning- digital backs (sure, exposure sucks, but daguerrotypes weren't exactly 1/800s wonders either - the second image was a 10-minute exposure) that will give you a much greater resolution yet.

And all that without the fuss and nasty chemicals and a result you can copy again and again and physically handle any which way you want (other than setting it on fire and electrocuting it, I suppose) without fear of smudging off the exposed elements, etc.

Then again.. most people don't care to have that much resolution in the first place. The primary mode of display these days is on the internet. While that's gone beyond the 800x600 'e-mail size' photos, by far the most gallery sites still do not post a full 5MP picture, never mind the 10MP that's just about standard now, unless it's a site specifically for great photos or panorama photos (which you most certainly would need a microscope for if printed out at the size specified above.).
In that respect.. it certainly is interesting.. and makes me wonder why so many people still buy into the megapixel race.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046382)

Well put. A friend of mine who's worked extensively as a war photographer as well as other things once told me [imagicity.com] that, "Photography hasn’t significantly improved since the early years. It’s just become more convenient.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045138)

Anyone else imagine this guy in his office just sitting there going "Enhance" [youtube.com]

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045778)

Kind of unfair though. Our sensors are about 6cm^2. These were shot on 350cm^2 films. That's considerably larger. Take a modern 21megapixel camera and scale it up and you would have a 1.2 Gigapixel camera.

Also the shots were extremely long exposure (and black and white). If you built a panoramic head for this 1.2Gigapixel camera and shot a panoramic series of shots over 3-4 seconds you could probably get at least 5 shots in. I would bet that 5.2Gigapixels is more resolution than any of these photos and with considerably more dynamic range.

Re:What I find more interesting... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045892)

You can't do visible light microscopy on most film images either, even back then. That requires large formats and/or extremely specialized film.

No, it isn't. (4, Informative)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044692)

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044762)

sadly, that photograph was also in the linked article, but the submitter only read the first half...

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044934)

Yeah, about a year and a half ago I sat through a lecture on the 1838 photo. We discussed the presence of the two people on the street corner, and how it was such an unexpected treat given the ridiculous exposure times back then (they were measured in minutes). This isn't news.

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045170)

There are two more people at the table.

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044774)

Yeah I saw that on bb last night. I wondered why Daguerre picked such a boring scene with only one person? I suppose the guy getting his shoes cleaned was friendly to long exposures.

Re:No, it isn't. (3, Insightful)

erstazi (1304229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044926)

It's likely that this was a busy street at the time, but because the image would have taken several minutes to form, only the figure standing still -- getting his boots shined? -- shows up.

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045182)

Ah good point.

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044798)

Isn't that picture already in the fine article?

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044932)

I downloaded this image so I could zoom in. There appears to be a child's face peering out from the upper left window of the building in the foreground. (That or Alfred E. Neuman is mooning us!) Also--to the right of the man getting his shoe shinned--isn't that a person sitting at a table?

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044944)

Correction--two people sitting at a table. That or I'm seeing dead people.

Re:No, it isn't. (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045084)

You are indeed, unless you've found somebody that's like 180 years old.

Re:No, it isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045582)

We're all at least 13 billion years old.

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045210)

"There appears to be a child's face peering out from the upper left window of the building in the foreground"

It could be a cat!

Re:No, it isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34044940)

Uh that's exactly the same picture as the one mentioned in the article.

Re:No, it isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045258)

Uh that's exactly the same picture as the one mentioned in the article.

It is the photo that the title of the article is referring to. The funny thing is that the submitter apparently totally missed the point of the article, because the part that he chose to submit is only a little of the backstory that leads into the main story. You'd think he would've mentioned the Daguerreotype taken by Louis Daguerre himself somewhere in the summary...

No (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044708)

It's not the first photo of a human. This was on boing boing a couple days ago. Probably digg, reddit, and who knows where else too. There is a dageurreotype by Daguerre [wordpress.com] from 1838 with a person in it.

It's o.k. to be a couple days behind on this stuff, but dang, to still be repeating this that were shown to be incorrect a while back is sad.

Re:No (2, Informative)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044770)

yeah, that photo is in tfa

Re:No (2, Funny)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044784)

You're a couple of posts behind on this stuff...

Re:No (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044796)

Yeah- it's fitting. I'm playing a game on my phone, watching the baseball play-offs and trying to post at the same time. But I still feel better having vented.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045538)

C'mon, our alien overlords have been recording us since we were soup.

Disappointed (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044766)

I came hoping for boobs and left disappointed.

Re:Disappointed (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044794)

You need the old African pictures...

Re:Disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34044834)

disappointed I left hoping for boobs and came.

Old news is so exciting (2, Funny)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34044804)

This is so old it's in my Art textbook from my Art 110 GE class.

Re:Old news is so exciting (1)

Scorpinox (479613) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045382)

I was about to post the same thing. I'm taking an online art class and the photograph is printed in the book, "Preble's Art Forms 9th Edition". I do find it fascinating how old news can suddenly jump into popularity all over the web.

what about the shroud or turin (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34044938)

wasnt that supposed to be the first photograph of a human made in the 1200s?

Re:what about the shroud or turin (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045336)

1. It's fake
2. Photographs require light, note the photo part of the word.
3. If the shroud of turin was what it was claimed to be it would have to have been made almost 1200 years before 1200 AD.

Re:what about the shroud or turin (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045692)

It may be a fake in the sense of not the burial shroud of Jesus, but it is real in the sense of an artistic and historic artifact. There was a popular theory kicking about for a while that the shroud was formed by a very primitive photographic process. The idea is covered on the wiki.

Re:what about the shroud or turin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34047044)

Slashdot had a wiki? Link?

Re:what about the shroud or turin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34047140)

> wasnt that supposed to be the first photograph of a human made in the 1200s?

It definitely was not made in the 1200s. The hungarian manuscript "Codex Pray" from 1095 AD contains an accurate pen drawing of the whole Shroud on display in Constantinople, complete with the exact L-shaped "poker hole" burnmarks, weave pattern, fold pattern, Jesus silhouette, etc. Please check the lower drawing:

http://muvtor.btk.ppke.hu/romanika/pray3.gif

The venetians hijacked a Holy Land-bound crusade army in 1204 AD to ransack Constantinople, as part of the catholic - eastern orthodox animosity. The valuables went to the venetians, who did the army's shipping and logistic, while the relics went to the french knights, who did the bloodshed.

A series of complaint letters from the metropolite high priest of Constantinople survive in the Vatican archives. They demand return of the Jesus bruial shroud, known as mandilion in the greek language. (The last register of 1202 lists the mandilion kept at the Curch of Virgin Mary, which stood in the Blacherna quartier of Constantinople.) Yet, the Pope was too happy to see venetians crush the center of orthodoxy and never bothered to have the Shroud returned.

The history of the Shroud of Turin is therefore well-connected to the mandilion, whose history is perfectly traced to Jesus's time. It was in Edessa (=Urfa) before taken to Constantiople in 944 AD due to fear of a muslim invasion. The Shroud was taken to Urfa by Apostle Taddei, to heal the region's king Abgar 5th from leprosy. Abgar's manuscript SOS letters addressed to Jesus survive in the coptic library of Ethiopia. (From holy tradition it is known that Jesus sent two replies, stating he cannot go due to his mission among the jews, but promised to send a discipline to proxy his healing bless.)

King Abgar's son returned to paganism in 57 AD and the Shroud was hidden in Urfa's city wall. The Shroud was hidden in a stone vault above the city gate and forgotten due to extinction of local christians during the persecution. The shroud was only thrown up by the floodwater of 525 AD, which collapsed parts of the city's wall. In 544 AD there is already a local basilica to venerate the Shroud.

Already by the 8th century AD, the worldwide iconography of Jesus is standardized on the strict semitic physiognomy of the mandilion / Turin Shroud, ending the practice of depicting Jesus in a greekish blonde sportsman-sungod-superhero fashion.

By the way, those still interested in the 1988 radiocarbon C-14 test, the medieval result was correct, only the labs didn't test the Shroud per se. The fibers they got were from medieval mini patches, used to repair fire damage to the Shroud. The nuns worked so well nobody realized where the Shroud ends and the repair patches start. The labs did the tests per blind method, mixed in with ancient egyptian textile remains for better counterchecks. This means they never saw the Shroud in person and couldn't realize the fibers are ungood.

Yet, five years ago three unused elemental fiber samples were found still sealed in Gent, which lab had more senitive equipment and needed to burn less material for C-14 tests. Those fibers have surface coating not present in the Shroud main mass and such coating was not invented for a millenia after Jesus's time. Therefore the C-14 measurements were not made on the Shroud-proper, QED.

The whole bruhaha is mostly the Vatican's fault, because in 1988 they unilaterally halved the number of allowed samples to 3 and relegated them to marginal areas of the Shroud. If the orignal six-sample plan had been realized in central areas of the figure, they would have gotten correct or at least absurd results (if Jesus's resurrection manipulated up the atomic material properties somehow).

Allegedly the Shroud will be on public display again in 2017 or 2018, to commemorate the centennial of the so-called Fatima miracles, which will be a pretty large event for the entire roman catholic church.

After that the Vatican has to think about returning it to the orthodox, because there won't be any east-west christian union ever without the mandilion returned.

Hardly the first? (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045092)

Re:Hardly the first? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045340)

Smart people realize that the Shroud is a fake and this new theory is just to deal with the fact that it could not have been an impression that made such marks.

Re:Hardly the first? (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046992)

This hypothesis is ridiculously useless from the beginning; when you want a 1:1 image of something that looks like an imprint, it's a million times easier to make an imprint. Occam's razor's rolling on the floor laughing.

fuc4! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045140)

eerors. Future I If you do not Users. BSD/OS THEO DE RAADT, ONE

A Memorable image... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045406)

I've seen a daguerreotype of composer Frederic Chopin that was taken in 1846 or 1847. Knowing he was one of the first composers to be photographed rather than sit for a portrait is why I remembered this fact. The same image that was in my music history textbook can be viewed on Frederic Chopin's wikipedia page.

Provided it's not a fake... (0, Redundant)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045772)

...this [wikipedia.org] probably qualifies as the first "photograph" of a human. And up this point, no solid proof has been offered that it's fake.

What Every Detective Show Has Taught Me... (1)

No Lucifer (1620685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045790)

Researcher #1: What's that in sector 2E?

Researcher #2: I don't know... it couldn't be...

Researcher #1: Isolate it. Now zoom in.

Researcher #2: It looks like a human, but I can't tell

Researcher #1: Clean it up. Now, you can clearly see the person in this photo is wearing a Rolex. Just like our suspect.

Re:What Every Detective Show Has Taught Me... (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046966)

Wait a minute. Zoom in on the reflection of that Rolex...

OT but interesting (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045898)

The guy mentioned in the summary is Robert Krulwich, an NPR correspondent and one half of the wonderful radio show Radiolab [radiolab.org] .

They usually look at the science behind all sorts of things, from psychology to physics to music. The production quality is fantastic, the content is almost always thought-provoking, and the hosts have an interplay that is often humorous while remaining informative. I've linked to several of their shows in the past when they were relevant to the discussion.

If you have a curious mind, you can easily spend countless hours listening to their shows, and unlike much entertainment they are all grounded in reality and will enrich your existence.

I wish that guy would just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046296)

suck my juice.

not a busy street (1)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046422)

if it were a busy street, the presence of people would have reduced the average light creating visible darkness on the road. there are no dark patches or streaks so it was probably an empty street after all.

Re:not a busy street (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34047068)

How many long exposure photographs have you took? That's not how it works. Well in one scenario you'd be correct but people would have to be packed onto that street like sardines.

fake handbags (0, Offtopic)

fakehandbags (1925940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046934)

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