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Immovably fascinated by the world; it's properties, people, conditions, sensations, irony,
and all the amazing moments which, whether by enlightenment or scarring, bring about permanent change.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Robert Cornelius

On Saturday, I was browsing the book section at Goodwill on Capitol Hill,
and I came across this photo on the cover of a US history book.

It stunned me.
The dust jacket only said, "front cover: self-portrait by Robert Cornelius, 1839."
I feverishly flipped through the book for about 20 minutes,
but I couldn't find anything in there written about him.

Today, here's what I could find online;

- written on the back; "the first light-picture ever to be taken. 1839."
- this is considered the first photo of a human ever to be produced.
- it was taken outside his family business in Philadelphia.
- he was a lamp maker, chemist, metallurgist, scientist, businessman, and ventriloquist.
- one of the only descriptions that exist of him, says he was a man
"who has more genius than he yet supposes himself to possess."

The limited information is certainly frustrating!
But at the same time, the lack documentation makes me more cherish every detail I can find,
and what remains recorded, is quite intriguing.

Reminiscent of my infatuation with the mysterious Lewis Powell,
which also started with an incredible photo (below, 1865)

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