With apps like Instagram and Snapchat, our obsession with pictures is alive and well. Before you start thinking that your selfie or picture of lightning is somehow innovative, check out the first photographs ever taken. These pictures were the first haunting images that came about after photography was invented in the 1800s. 

The First Photograph, 1826

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This is the first permanent photograph ever taken. It was shot by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce outside of his window in France in 1826 onto a polished piece of pewter. He titled it "View From the Window at Le Gras."

The First Photo With A Person, 1838

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Because early photographic procedures took a long time to expose, any moving people would disappear in the frame. However, this picture of a busy street became the first photograph with a person because the shoe shiner at the bottom left stayed still. It's called "Boulevard du Temple" by Louis Daguerre.

The First Selfie, 1839

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Selfies aren't a new invention. In fact, the first portrait ever taken was a selfie, by Robert Cornelius in 1839. It used the daguerreotype method named after the man from the previous photograph, Louis Daguerre.

The First Portrait, 1839/1840

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A short time later, J. W. Draper took this portrait of his sister Dorothy Catherine Draper. This is the first non-selfie portrait ever taken.

First Photograph Of The Moon, 1840

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J. W. Draper was a busy guy. After taking the first non-selfie portrait, he turned his camera skyward, taking one of the very first photographs of the moon in 1840.

First Photograph Of A President, 1843


Up until the 1840s, presidents' portraits had to be painted. But once photography started, history could finally record the exact image of the leaders of the United States. John Quincy Adams was the first U.S. president to be photographed.

First Photograph Of Drinking, 1844

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The fact that the first photograph of people drinking would come five years after the first selfie really shows where people's priorities were in the 19th century. This is a photograph of James Ballantine, Dr. George William Bell, and David Octavius Hill, who were important Scottish elite.

First Photograph Of New York City, 1848


This is the oldest surviving photograph of New York City, taken in 1848. It's a picture of the idyllic countryside that would become the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

First Color Photograph, 1861

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Up until the 1860s, any photograph in color was hand-colored after the fact or used very difficult processes. Advancements in technology allowed this photograph of a tartan ribbon to be photographed in color in 1861 by Thomas Sutton.

First Subtractive Color Photo, 1872

Painted Back

Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron, who took this photo, invented the subtractive color process using cyan, magenta, and yellow, that's still used today. This is the first picture taken with this method.

First Photograph Of Lightning, 1882

The Franklin Institute

Considering that lightning photography is difficult to achieve even by today's standards, this lightning photo, captured in 1882 by William Jennings, is magnificent.

First Photograph Of A Tornado, 1884


Why photograph lightning when you could capture a tornado? This picture is of the tornado that tore through Garnett, Kansas on April 26, 1884.

First Photo Studio, 1893

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It's surprising that it took almost 50 years for someone to open a photography studio. This image captures the photographer taking his own picture.

First Photo Taken From Space, 1946


See that grainy mess? That's Earth, taken from space for the very first time. Even more interesting, this picture was taken by American military engineers and scientists with a Nazi rocket.

First Digital Photograph, 1957

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Film cameras have now gone by the wayside in favor of digital. Odds are you've been exclusively taking digital pictures for the last decade or more. But there was a time when this was brand new. This image was the very first digital photograph, taken in 1957 by Russell A. Kirsch of his son Walden.