The First Photograph
…or more specifically, the earliest known surviving
photograph made in a camera, was taken by Joseph
Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827.
As a child, I would place icicles in my mouth and expect
the rest of my day to taste blue. The cornflower
sheen on the pewter plate of the first photograph ever taken reflects
oil-slick light so well I cannot even tell what I am
looking at: daguerreotype or the glass of a window punched out
of its frame. No point-and-click, but a process
involving mercury vapour and the right kind of light.
To be first is to be fact: if it is cold enough, an icicle will fuse
to the bluebells of fingers. Fact: I am iodine and I am sensitive.
Another fact: the first polaroid I ever took was of the bruised
sky and it developed slowly, the reactive chemicals and light
sensitive grains blooming just like my favourite hydrangeas after winter.
Kat Lewis is a candidate in poetry at the University of Idaho where she has served as managing editor and reader for Fugue Literary Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Meadow, High Desert Journal, The Superstition Review, Santa Clara Review, and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Moscow, Idaho.
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