Can you date this picture?

This is Robert Cornelius, aged 30, standing in the autumn sun outside his father’s family store on 8th street, Philadelphia. This is one of the first pictures he took - its a self portrait.

Answer (highlight to read):

175 years old.

On the back of the image is the inscription “The first ever light picture, 1839″. It is the earliest known self-portrait. Cornelius opened a photographic studio, but closed it after a few years, focusing on his father’s business.

Cornelius died in 1893, aged 84. The original picture is in the collection of the American Philosophical Society

4 comments to Can you date this picture?

  • Photoshop

    Around a 100 years?

  • Tina

    wow..170 years old!(if considered taken in 1839)

  • Pete Knight

    Is this absolutely definitely true? I’m surprised to see so much light definition in the hair, cheeks and clothes etc, on a picture that would have used such a primitive technique.

  • Alan Ford

    It didn’t take long at all for early pioneers to get the hang of things. There is a startling museum of early photography at Fox Talbot’s Home: Lacock Abbey.

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