Sunday, November 25, 2012
On a sunny day in October, Robert Cornelius set up his camera in the back of his father’s gas lamp-importing business on Chestnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia. After removing the lens cap, he sprinted into the frame, where he sat for more than a minute before covering up the lens. The picture he produced that day was the first photographic self-portrait. It is also widely considered the first successful photographic portrait of a human being. [...] the words written on the back of the self-portrait, in Cornelius’ own hand, said it all: “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.” The photo is now a part of the Library of Congress’ Daguerreotype collection.