Very early photo of a human being

 Assets Img 2010 10 22 Cincinnati-River-Image
Last month at the excellent Krulwich Wonders blog, Robert Krulwich examined a set of astoundingly-sharp 1842 daguerreotypes of Cincinnati along the Ohio River. According to the University of Rochester, it's "the oldest photograph of an urban area in existence." Zooming way in, one could barely make out what appeared to be two people at the edge of the river, collecting what looked like a bucket of water. Inspired, one of Krulwich's readers did a bit of photo forensics and provided us a much better glimpse of those two folks. He blogged about his findings at Hokumburg Goombah. Krulwich followed up with another post and asks if this is the "first photo of a human being ever?" (No, it actually isn't.) From Hokumburg Goombah:

(Krulwich) thinks this detail shows a short man and a tall man with a bucket between them. I have lightened it up a bit and messed with the contrast a little, and I think the man on the left is standing behind the wooden beam wall (wharf? dock?) with his left leg up on the wall and his left hand resting on his knee, while the man on the right is standing on top of that wall. What do you think?

Remarkable Picture of the Past from NPR (Hokumburg Goombah, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

"First Photo Of A Human Being?" (Krulwich Wonders)

"Once In a Lifetime River Tour Starts Here! Unfortunately, Everybody's Dead" (Krulwich Wonders)