Friday Eye Candy: The World's Oldest Aerial Photo

Ever wonder what downtown Boston looked like on the eve of the Civil War? This photograph taken from a hot air balloon by James Wallace Black is thought to be the oldest aerial photo still in existence. Google Earth eat your heart out.

If you're looking for a dose of humor this week, look back at our collection of April Fool's Day stories. For something a bit more, ahem, sophisticated, we bring you the progenitor of the Google Earth and Bing Bird's Eye views of the world.

"The first flight of an untethered hot air balloon—humanity’s first really successful attempt at flight—took place in 1783 when “Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes” flew over Paris. The first real photograph was taken in 1826 when Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took a picture out of his window," explains Colin Schultz.

"It took more than 30 years for someone to put these two inventions together to bring us the world’s first photo from the air. That photo, an 1858 aerial image of Paris, France, captured by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon is no longer with us. But the next best thing, says PetaPixel, is in the caring hands of the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art: an 1860 photograph of Boston captured from 2,000 feet."

Photo: James Wallace Black / The Met



Full Story: This Picture of Boston, Circa 1860, Is the World’s Oldest Surviving Aerial Photo

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00