Today marks the 20th anniversary of the very first photo being uploaded to the internet. On the 18th of July 1992 the first photo appeared online courtesy of CERN, a research laboratory located in Geneva.
Wondering what the subject of the photograph was? It was no other than (and what has been dubbed a Photoshop disaster) the parody band Les Horribles Cernettes. Never heard of them? Don’t be too concerned as neither have I. The band was made up of lab employees who worked for CERN.
Tim Berners-Lee, (a British Computer Scientist who started the project that created the World Wide Web) was testing a web system that could support the uploading of photographs. He asked his colleague Silvano De Gennaro to provide an image to test the system. De Gennaro provided Berners-Lee with an edited image of the band that was to be used for their next CD cover. Unbeknownst to De Gennaro, the image selected would go on to have world-historical significance.
“I didn’t know what the Web was,” he said later. “When history happens, you don’t know that you’re in it.”
Motherboard has the full story on how a photo of Les Horribles Cernettes came to be the first photo on the internet.
Fast forward twenty years to 2012 where millions of photos are uploaded to various sites each and every day. Roughly 1.8 million photos are uploaded daily on Flickr alone.