Tuesday, October 26, 2010
To the First Person Ever to Appear in a Photograph
It’s amazing to think that of all the people on the Boulevard du Temple that day, you were the only one standing still long enough for Daguerre’s machine to catch you.
His machine was up in a window somewhere. You were just getting your boots shined, not even aware, maybe, that an invention had been discovered that could capture your image and preserve it for eternity. It’s the first example of a machine whose power resides in the air, in silence. It can do its work without anyone knowing it’s around.
Daguerre's machine turned you into a ghost, the first image in the age of images, the beginning of our troubles. Or maybe all the invisible people bustling around you that day are the ghosts and you are the only living soul.
And now two more ghosts have joined you, from four years later along the Ohio River. They even look like ghosts, nearly translucent, barely there, and waiting over 150 years for the internet to discover them.