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Graphics Technology

The First Photograph of a Human 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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The First Photograph of a Human

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  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @08:12PM (#34044670) Homepage that 162 years later we take digital pictures that don't have the resolution to allow visible-light microscopy-level zooming.

  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @09:06PM (#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:Cat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sribe ( 304414 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @09:34PM (#34045196)

    You're an AC, and probably joking too, but the earliest Daguerrotype pr0n was, according to 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.

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