© Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, 1838 , Notre-Dame and Île de la Cité, Paris

Above photograph is on view in Mannheim (Germany) at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen as part of the exhibition The Birth of Photography: Milestones from the Gernsheim Collection.

The exhibition — on view from September 9, 2012 through January 6, 2013 — features images well into the middle of the 20 century. They capture moments of war, feats of architecture and technology, and city- and landscapes alike.

Also on view is the world’s earliest surviving photograph, Joseph Nicéphore Nièpce's heliography “View from the Window at Le Gras” from 1826. Housed normally in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, the photograph was last exhibited in Europe on 1961.

  © Carolin Breckle, 2012, Presentation of Nièpce’s “View from the Window at Le Gras”

Remarkably, “View from the Window at Le Gras” was lost for over 50 years after being exhibited at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham, London, 1898. The photohistorian Helmut Gernsheim rediscovered the photo in 1952 and sold his entire collection of early photography to the University of Texas in 1963 (read the whole story and more interesting information on this picture here).

In our image-overwhelmed contemporary society, this is a rare chance to view the very beginning of what we now take for granted while we indisciminantly Instagram into infamy parties, exhibitions, and sandwiches. (read more)

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© Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, ca. 1838, Boulevard du Temple, Paris

"Boulevard du Temple", taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known photograph of a person. The image shows a street, but because of the over ten minute exposure time the moving traffic does not appear. At the lower left, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured.

© Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, ca. 1832, Diorama of Inauguration of Salomon’s Temple (study for)

Daguerre was a French artist and physicist, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography.