22.4.10

My First Photograph?

Today I stopped at the train station of Reading on my way back to London. There on Baker Street, at the "Reading Establishment," I hoped to find Mr. William Henry Fox Talbot, the photography pioneer. Not only did he develop the process of negatives and photographic paper, but he is probably even better remembered as the first serious photographer.

When I reached his studio, I was told he was out, but was given the location. When I got there I saw a ladder standing in front of a door leading up to a second floor window. A man stood at the top of the ladder and another stood at the bottom. What was odd, was that neither of them spoke or moved. I walked up and asked them what they were doing.

"That's it!" yelled a voice behind me. I turned my head and saw a balding man with a small wooden camera.

"I beg your pardon?"

"You balance the picture! You are what we needed. Please sir, just stand there and do not move, if you do not mind. Please, turn your head back like you are watching. Oh, and would you mind removing your top hat? It's a little distracting."

I humored the fellow and stood very still for a long time. The photographer turned out to be Henry Fox Talbot himself. (He always dropped the William.)

Later I looked over some of Talbot's hundreds of surviving photos that he took. I ran across this one:


I'm not certain, but I believe that is me on the left. I have had my picture taken thousands of times in the 27th century and dozens of times in the 19th, but I don't recall having my photo taken before 1843, so this may well be my "first" photograph.

I do hope I don't get in trouble with the Institute of Time Travel for this. I was only trying to be polite.

3 comments:

LonniCuriosity said...

If that is you, you have a very fine, straight back and decent posture =)

If your face is not in it, how can the Institute make any fuss? I would hope not.

Tom Banwell said...

Marvelous idea, this recording of your travels in time. Perhaps you could pop by and introduce yourself some time?

Anonymous said...

The Reading Establishment story has two errors: at the date of your visit the street address was Russell Terrace [ it was re-named Baker Street later, and still is so named].
The photo shown, with ladders, depicts an older building that is definitely not The Reading Establishment.
I thought the record should be corrected before erroneous information goes further/
Pedantic Phil