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Oldest Photo of Niagara Falls

The image above, taken by Hugh Pattinson in 1840, is the oldest photograph of Niagara Falls. It was discovered just a few years ago at the Newcastle University in England in a box, marked “Daguerrotypes”.  The picture will be on display at the original location where the picture was taken.   Do you notice something wrong with the photo? The photo is laterally reversed. Table Rock can be seen on the left when it should be on the right.

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4 Responses
  1. Brendan From San Francisco says:

    Wow, not only the oldest picture. But one of the most breathtaking! When I see old pictures like this I always try to imagine being at that place at that time.

  2. Roger says:

    I came across your site while searching for the world’s oldest photographs. It seems that a number of rare photos have been discovered recently from private collections. Interest has been taken to find the oldest photos of a person. What makes this photo of great historical interest is the image of a man standing in the lower left corner. Depending on the type of photographic process at the time it would take from 10 to 15 minutes exposure time. So the man in this photo posed for this picture. The image is very clear compared to the riverboat photo taken in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1838 which seems to be the oldest photo of a person(s) in existence.

    Here are other old photos:
    * Cincinnati Riverboat – 1838 – There may have been other people at this busy dock but they didn’t stand still long enough to be captured.

    * “Boulevard du Temple”, taken by Louis Daguerre in late 1838 or early 1839 – The interesting thing is that the street was filled with many people and carriages at the time. The people standing still long enough to be captured by the long exposure time required was the man having his shoes shined, the bootblack and the man sitting on the bench to the right . Three other people can also be found in this photo.

  3. Roger says:

    I stand corrected. The Ohio Riverboat photo was taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter, who were standing on the other side of the Ohio River on Sunday, September 24th, 1848 and is one of collection of eight Daguerreotypes.

    The other photos by Fontayne and Porter of Cincinnati can be found here:

  4. I saw niagara falls at the movie “Bruce Almighty” and it looks great even if im not actually at the place but it gives me the feeling of excitement to watch.

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