Have you been hearing about this photo that just turned up? Last month, a surprisingly sharp daguerreotype from 1842 surfaced showing 2 human forms along the Ohio River in Cincinnati. Some people have started asking "Is this the first photo EVER of a human being?"
Here's the full photo, along with the close-up of the 2 figures:
Sure, a photo showing a human from 1842 is PRETTY amazing.
But it's not the oldest.
The oldest image of a human being (or what is currently considered the oldest) is a photo thought to be made by Louis Daguerre's, the creator of the daguerreotype. His image shows a street scene where there was probably a LOT going on, but because of the long exposure needed to make the image, everything simply blurred into obscurity. That is, except for a man near the lower left who stood in one spot long enough because he was getting his shoes shined.
So, take THAT you Ohio daguerreotype from 1842. Not feeling so special anymore, are you?
[I kid. In all seriousness, they are both amazing images from the early years of my profession. This more recent image was a great find. It's amazing the things that are stored away that we haven't "discovered" yet, even though our ancestors put them there for us.]