This photograph of the 1848 revolution is a precious document; it was taken during one of the four days in June which left several thousand dead among the insurgents and the government forces in Paris. Its exact date and the name of the photographer are known (an amateur photographer who lived in the Popincourt district?) from the engraving published in L'Illustration of 1-8 July 1848 and in the special issue of the magazine Journées illustrées de la révolution de 1848, published in August 1848.
Along with another image by the same photographer, dated 25 June 1848, this scene is regarded as the first photograph used to illustrate a newspaper story. The people seen in the distance are no more than dark dots as often in photographs of the time. Although they may not have been aware of it, this shot certainly influenced the vision of artists who were starting to paint in the mid 1860s, whether or not they were part of the avant garde. This is probably painting's main debt to photography in the nineteenth century. However it is difficult to evaluate because the artists born in the pioneer years of the invention, being unable to remember the many images they saw in their childhood and teenage years, are silent on the subject and frankly disdainful of photography.