Image Credits – Google
In the never-ending list of the Firsts, there is July 1992—the day when the first photograph was uploaded on the internet. It was July 18, 1992. The picture features the four girls from the Les Horribles Cernettes girl pop band. Facebook was ten years away from being launched. Instagram, which has now attracted a large user base, was not even in people’s thoughts. There was no photograph on the internet at that time.
Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, uploaded the Cernettes band photo when he saw Silvano editing the picture for the album cover. Clicked by Silvano de Gennaro, the photograph was captured at the Hardronic Festival when these girls were about to go on stage. Silvano and the girls posing for the album cover did not know the picture would get so much love and attention.
For them, it was a normal photo and a part of their promotional shoot. It was not just the photograph. The Cernettes band was also the first female pop band on the World Wide Web. It has been 30 years since the photo was published, and it is still alive on the internet. Read on to learn more about the first photograph, the story behind its publishing, and a brief on the band.
Les Horribles Cernettes
Michelle de Gennaro, a graphic designer at CERN, is the name behind the Les Horribles Cernettes band. It was a female pop band, featuring Angela Higney, Colette, Lynn, and Michelle. As mentioned above, the photo is from the Hardronic Festival, initiated by Silvano, a computer scientist at CERN.
The festival started in 1989 and gained so much popularity and love from the people that it’s still conducted. At that time, Silvano invited a female pop band to sing. Silvano did not know that the photograph he would capture for promotional purposes would become the first ever picture on the internet.
The band remained for a long time and performed at many music festivals. However, it witnessed several changes in its line-up. However, they performed with the same name until the group disbanded in July 2012. They made their last performance for the same festival in Switzerland. Lynn and Angela have released their solo albums, while Michelle became a Pilates instructor.
The history behind the first image on the internet
The history behind the show is quite interesting. Michelle, Silvano’s wife, remembers how a friend came up to her with the idea of writing a song about a physicist she was in love with. At that time, Michelle worked as a bilingual secretary. She also wanted Michelle to be there on the stage with her.
Silvano wrote Collider, the song that earned the female band recognition. It was about a woman whose lover worked at Collider. The song the team performed on the stage received lots of love from musicians, fans, and guests at the event. Sadly, the person they dedicated the song to (the physician) never heard it, as he was busy doing his shift.
That’s how the band “Les Horribles Cernettes” was born. As you can see in the picture, it has four female singers wearing vintage outfits with beautifully styled hair. They looked like 50s females. Writing and singing songs about physics was quite a fantastic idea. It was different too.
Lynn Veronneau, who has now become a band member, saw them perform at the festival and loved them. She was doing opera when she decided she wanted to be a part of this band. Within a year, Lynn became one of the Les Horribles Cernettes members.
They remember how one day they were getting ready to go up on the stage, makeup done, hair done, and all set to perform. They were backstage when Silvano showed up and asked the girls to pose for the camera. It was supposed to be a promotional shoot. The girls gathered and smiled in front of the camera, giving natural shots.
Later, he was working on the picture, removing the background so it was ready for the cover. It was then that Tim Berners Lee, the founder of the WWW, saw him and suggested that they should make this band’s website. Silvano didn’t know what the World Wide Web was at that time. It wasn’t just the photograph. Berners Lee had created a web page that showed the social events at CERN. He used the picture of the Cernettes band on the webpage.
The picture was not of the best quality if we consider today’s standards for photography. It was small, as the web was not designed to handle large and heavy files. It was 120/50 pixels and took around a minute to load. However, people had to click on the image for it to load on the screen.
For a long time, Lynn did not know the importance of this photograph in history until she realized how blessed she was to be there in the photograph that turned out to be the first-ever picture on the internet.
Michelle had the same response when asked about how she felt about the first picture. When asked if she ever thought she would be the one in the photograph that would become iconic in history, she replied “No of course not”. But like Lynn, she is happy she was part of the album and the picture. The group reunited in 2012 for a concert and received an amazing response. Not only the people that attended the concert in person, but around 2000 people logged in to watch the band perform live.
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