First Photo


The first known photograph of a presidential inauguration. President Buchanan, March 1857.

The blurred central portion of this photograph is likely the parade moving by. The blur of course comes from the long shutter speed required to expose the plate. The only elements in relative focus are static elements or standing people that haven’t moved much at all.

Mathew Brady photographed mostly dead people for the first half of the Civil War because of slow shutter speeds. Simply put, dead people propped up didn’t cause a lot of motion blur.


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