The very first known photo to be taken of a Canadian landscape went viral on Reddit this week. Taken in 1840, the photo of Niagara Falls is a “daguerreotype” which is an early form of photography that required a long exposure time of around 10 minutes.
The picture was discovered in 1997 in the Special Collections of the library at Newcastle University in England. The photographer, British businessman, Hugh Lee Pattinson, took the photo on a trip to Canada, and it was later donated to the University by his family.
Since daguerreotype photography required 10 minutes to capture the complete picture, people have speculated that the figure in the bottom left hand corner of the frame is Pattinson himself.
The image has racked up thousands of views on Reddit, and someone even took the time to enhance the photo, and flip it. The original would have been inverted through the daguerreotype process, so the flipped version with the figure in the right hand corner is the more accurate portrayal of what the camera would have seen on that day in 1840.