The World’s Earliest Surviving Photograph

There’s something haunting about the world’s earliest surviving photograph.

It was created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce around 1826, titled View from the Window at Le Gras. Its strange, muddled appearance comes from the 8-hour exposure — causing the sun to light up the buildings of Niépce’s country home — and the oil-treated bitumen plate the image is found upon.

A strange, obscured vision of the world as it existed nearly 200 years ago.

Perhaps even more haunting is the earliest known recording of a human voice. Created on April 9, 1860 by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, it captures the sound of a person singing the French folk song, “Au Clair De La Lune.” It’s very short, and only slightly intelligible.


You know, sometimes I wonder if our past exists in a darker place.

Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.

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