12 Major Milestones In Photography That Forever Changed How We View The World

These photos are simply unmissable

From inventing the wheel and the idea of sliced bread to putting a man on the moon and developing the worldwide web, humanity has accomplished quite a bit over the years. Giving us a blast from the past, these 13 vintage photos are proving just that! 

1. Viva la France and the first ever photograph – 1827.

While it may be difficult to make out actual figures and shapes, you’re looking at the world’s very first snapshot! Taken in modern day Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France, the image was titled Niépce’s, or “View from the Window at Le Gras.”


2. Second in line but first for another – 1838.

Louis Daguerre was the first to capture a person on film. The teeny tiny couple in the lower left-hand corner likely had no idea they would make the history books! Taken with an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapor, this is a ‘Daguerreotype’ photo, named after the man responsible for the far away pic,.


3. Stoic through the selfie – 1839.

Attempting to take a self-portrait, Robert Cornelius went for the ‘blanket effect’ – the one we’ve all witnessed in our favorite Hollywood films. Lifting the lens cover, or ‘blanket,’ while draping it over his head and inching into the frame, he succeeded! #SelfieGoals.


4. Jokes on you – 1840.

The world has Hippolyte ‘Father of Photography’ Bayard to thank for this little gem. Posing for a fake yet cryptic shot, he fooled a few poor souls into thinking he came back from the dead.


5. The moon (minus a man) – 1840.

Believe it or not, this spotted and distorted-looking orb is Earth’s crater-filled moon! Photographer John W. Draper was the brains of the operation.


6. Politically correct – 1843.

Fun fact: John Quincey Adams was the first in a slew of many to sit for a presidential photo. Second fun fact: it was taken after he’d already left office (Shhh).


7. Up, up and aerial – 1860.

Get a good look at Boston, Massachusetts, circa 2,000 feet in the air. How did the brilliant James Wallace Black manage this epic shot, you may ask? Hot air balloon – what else.


8. Tickle me color – 1861.

Thomas Sutton marked a major photographic milestone snapping this image of a tartan ribbon. Eventually, he’d also develop the world’s first SLR camera. While behind the lens, Sutton wasn’t the man behind the microscope. Physicist James Clerk Maxwell was responsible for the scientific procedure that made it all possible.


9. Battle wounds – 1870.

Picturing the Prussian’s first line charge towards the French army, this is the first battle captured on film! Unfortunately, the photographer didn’t his calling card.


10. Landscaped in technicolor – 1877.

Landscape photo? Old news. But colored landscape photo … not so much. You’re looking at the French talents of Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron.


11. Film’s first funnel cloud – 1884.

Truly impressive, this image was shot a whopping 14 miles away! Any guesses where the tornado’s touching down? Ask Dorothy …

Kansas Historical Society

12.Going solar – 1950.

Exactly 130 years into our love affair with photography, we pulled off an epic group selfie.

Go. Team.


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