Louis Daguerre - A Photographic Pioneer
Louis Daguerre - A Photographic Pioneer
Imagine a World Without Photography
What would our world be like if not for people like Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre? Talk about a true photographic pioneer, this man really made some interesting history in his day. He lived from 1787 through 1851 and was a French artist as well as chemist. I had long heard of the Daguerreotype before I knew of Daguerre. He is indeed an interesting person to learn about, as he developed the Daguerreotype photographic process. For this, I am so thankful. His main claim to fame is that he was the first person to ever capture another human being with photographic film. What a fantastic discovery! In fairness, someone else may have done it before long, but he was the first.
There is no doubt that Daguerre is a creative artist. He first apprenticed in architecture, but also enjoyed theater design and panoramic artwork. In this type of art, the artist tried to capture a larger view of an event. It could be anything, but often it was war or some other historical event.
Being the multi-talented man that he was, Daguerre also was known for coming up with amazing theatrical illusions. He was the creator of the diorama. He invented a mobile theater where the people came to watch a variety of landscape paintings. The seats would move and give great enhancement to the whole experience. This makes me think of some of the things I have experienced at Disneyland and California adventure. Back in Daguerre's day, can you imagine that though? The popularity for such things has only increased over time.
Daguerre's story can't be told while leaving out Joseph Nicephore Niepce. He also was French and very creative. He was the first to create the world's first permanent photograph, or Heliograph in 1827. It made sense that Daguerre would want to collaborate with Niepce, as he wanted help with his dioramas.
The two experimented with silver coated copper plates, iodine and silver iodide, as well as mercury vapor. Niepce passed away suddenly in 1833 unfortunately, but Daguerre kept on going strong. He continued with his ideas and experiments. This is what led to what we know as the famous Daguerreotype. He continued to perfect things and even patented it. The French government was also very interested in these things, and eventually declared it "free to the world." They distributed the technology to all people.
What France didn't know at this time, was that Daguerre had his technology patented in Britain. This was just before France was about to declare the technology open to all people. This led to a bitter rivalry between the Daguerreotype and something else known as Fox Talbot's Calotype process. This meant that in Britain, the whole progress of photography was put on hold for a time. Basically, each man held on to their patent, and did not want to part with their technology. Its interesting that Britain ended up paying for this some.
The First Photograph of a Human
Late in the year 1838, Daguerre was attempting to take a photo of a busy French street. Due to the moving traffic, and rather long exposure time, he ran into some problems. After some time, the photo was still taken, and while the busy traffic didn't show up in the photo, something else did! There was a man, who was getting his shoes polished, so was sitting still for some time. Thus, the first photo had been taken of the man getting his shoes polished. History had been made! Can you imagine the excitement, and what was going through Daguerre's mind? If he could do this, where would it all end? It is still going strong, as we all see and enjoy.
I love photography, and I know so many other that do as well. I am thankful for these men and their passion to pursue the technology so we all could benefit ongoing.
Daguerre's famous photo
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