Weird History

These Are The 19 Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Humankind, And They're Stunning  

Cleo Egnal
750.9k views 19 items

Photography has influenced society since its inception in the 11th century. The oldest photographs depict fascinating details about life before pictures were common. From historical war photos to amazing images of space, the earliest surviving pictures known to humans have a profound and engaging aura. 

The very first camera was invented by an Iraqi scientist in the 11th century. Called the "camera obscura," the device only projected images onto other surfaces, and upside down at that. However, in the early 19th century, photography as we know it was born. French photographer Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used a portable version of the 11th-century device "to expose a pewter plate coated with bitumen to light." This became the first incarnation of permanent photography.

The images in this list are some of the oldest photographs, and most of them are the first of their kind. From the first picture ever taken by Niépce to the first movie, these images capture the development of permanent photography throughout the course of the 19th century. 

First Photograph On A Camera
First Photograph On A Camera is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Are The 19 Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Humankind, And They're Stunning
Photo:  Joseph Nicéphore Niépce /Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826, Saône-et-Loire, Bourgogne, France

First Reliably Dated Daguerreotype
First Reliably Dated Daguerreo... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Are The 19 Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Humankind, And They're Stunning
Photo: Louis Daguerre/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

L’Atelier de l'artiste, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, 1837

First Photograph With A Human In It
First Photograph With A Human ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Are The 19 Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Humankind, And They're Stunning
Photo:  Louis Daguerre/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Boulevard du Temple, 1838, Paris, France 

First Self-Portrait Photograph
First Self-Portrait Photograph is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Are The 19 Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Humankind, And They're Stunning
Photo:  Robert Cornelius/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

"Robert Cornelius, head-and-shoulders [self-]portrait, facing front, with arms crossed," 1839, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US