|Boulevard du Temple (1838) by Louis Daguerre|
The year 1838 was - in some ways - a good year. In England Queen Victoria's penny-pinching coronation took place, and the paddle steamer SS Great Western, built by the magnificently named Isambard Kingdom Brunel, made its inaugural transatlantic crossing in just 15 days. In the same year a London pedestrian walked backwards for 20 miles, and then forwards for 20 miles, in order to prove (perhaps) the impossibility of him not doing so (or because he was a loony). Meanwhile, a stone's throw away in the French capital, Louis Daguerre pointed his daguerreotype invention at the Boulevard du Temple in the 3rd arrondisement, and in a space of ten minutes (the length of the exposure), made one of the modern world's most memorable images, comparable with the Beatles on Abbey Road, and #womanontheleft ogling Hugh John Mungo Grant and smiling kittenishly at the name Mungo. (Controversial - and pathetic comparisons, for which grovelling apologies!!!)
Daguerre's image is probably the first photograph to include living humans. No moving traffic has been captured, due to the long exposure, but look closely and you can see a man having his shoes shined, and another man sitting on a bench reading a newspaper. Remember, too, that it's all the wrong way round, as the daguerreotype saw everything inverted.
So there you go....