“I have seized the light. I have arrested its flight.”
LOUIS DAGUERRE, 1839
This picture, the earliest known photograph to include a recognizable human form, was taken in Paris, France, in 1838 by Louis Daguerre. The human in question is standing in the bottom-left of the photograph, on the pavement by the curve in the road. He is having his boots shined.
The exposure time for the image was around seven minutes, and although the street would have been busy with traffic and pedestrians, it appears deserted. Everything moving was too fast to register on the plate.
As our smartphones make it easier to connect with people across the globe, they often can make it harder to connect face-to-face.
London-based photographer Babycakes Romero doesn’t own a smartphone. Instead, he treks along in his beloved city, camera in hand, capturing whatever catches his eye. “As a person dedicated to observation, I just feel I would be missing too much of the world around me if I was staring into the palm of my hand the whole time,” he says.
A black bear in Taylor Creek near South Lake Tahoe, California, in 2008. IMAGE: RICH PEDRONCELLI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Conventional wisdom stipulates that upon seeing a wild bear, one should not go near said bear. One should also avoid taking a picture of oneself with said bear.
Visitors to Lake Tahoe this month laugh in the face of conventional wisdom, though. The number of visitors attempting to take selfies with bears in the area has caused the U.S. Forest Service to issue a statement requesting that visitors keep a safe distance from the animals.
“I acknowledge that a man cannot perceive an object that does not exist; nor can he remember an object that does not exist; but there appears to me to be no contradiction in his conceiving an object that neither does nor ever did exist” (Thomas Reid, Essay 4 in Essays on the intellectual Powers of Man, 1785).
Lithuanian photographer and artist, Tadao Cern, created an interesting substitute for those who would like to see an actual, historical photograph of Vincent Van Gogh. Based on one of Van Gogh’s last self-portraits, Cern produced an intriguing digital simulation of a photograph of Van Gogh, a kind of digital Ersatz photograph, if you like.