These Are The 16 Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Mankind, And They’re Stunning

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 man 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 Nic√©phore Ni√©pce¬†used a portable version of the 11th century “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

View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826,¬†Sa√īne-et-Loire, Bourgogne, France

           First Photograph With A Human In It

Boulevard du Temple, 1838, Paris, France

           First Self-Portrait Photograph

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

           First Photograph Of The Moon

1840, rooftop observatory at NYU, New York, US

         First Hoax Photograph

Self Portrait as a Drowned Man, 1840, France

          Oldest Photograph Of A US President

Photograph of President John Quincy Adams, 1843, United States

           Oldest Photograph Of People Drinking

Edinburgh Ale, 1844, Edinburgh, Scotland

            First Photograph Of The Sun

Image of the Sun, 1845, Paris, France

           Oldest Photograph Of New York City

1848, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, US

           Oldest Aerial Photograph

Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It, October 13, 1860, Boston, Massachusetts, US

*This is actually not the first aerial photograph. Photographer Nadar shot the first aerial photo, but it was lost.

           First Color Photograph

Tartan Ribbon, 1861, London, England

           First Colored Landscape Photograph

View of Agen, 1877, Agen, France

           First High-Speed Photographic Series
Ranker Videov

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, 1878, Palo Alto, California, US

           First Photograph Of Lightning

Photograph of lightning, 1882, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

           First Photograph Of A Tornado