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A Photogenic Philly First

Photo Friday - Self Portrait

Philadelphia can add another ‘first’ to an already impressive list of ‘firsts in the nation’ with the report of the first confirmed photographic portrait of a human being.

In October 1839, Robert Cornelius set up his camera outside his father’s business on Chestnut Street and created the world’s first photographic self portrait. This fact that was not missed by the photographer, inscribed on the back of the portrait are the words “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”

Despite its myriad of problems, Philadelphia has a rich history of excellence. All I want to know is when did we stop being the city of ‘firsts’?

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3 responses to “A Photogenic Philly First

  1. Trevor Hilton

    You stopped being the city of “firsts” when Oklahoma City was established on April 22, 1889, when over 10,000 people participated in the Land Run and settled in what is now downtown Oklahoma City.

  2. PapaMAS

    Hmmm… I read a book a few years ago appropriately called “Philly Firsts.” It was OK. I don’t know the answer to your question, though. It was probably when people started leaving for the suburbs.

  3. AndyN

    If his portrait subject looked as good as your portrait subject, it probably wouldn’t have taken people 172 years to notice.

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