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Louis Daguerre

Updated on February 4, 2012

Louis Daguerre - A Photographic Pioneer

Louis Daguerre in 1844.
Louis Daguerre in 1844. | Source
Daguerreotype Daguerre Atelier 1837.  Interesting, as it is one of the first photos.
Daguerreotype Daguerre Atelier 1837. Interesting, as it is one of the first photos. | Source
Louis Daguerre
Louis Daguerre | Source

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

Boulevard du Temple by Daguerre.  This is the photo with the person, can you see him?
Boulevard du Temple by Daguerre. This is the photo with the person, can you see him? | Source


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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Miljac, I am in complete agreement about seeing things from so far in the past. Many people enjoy that kind of thing so much, and people like Louis Daguerre are who we have to thank!

      Your thought about wondering what people will want to see in the future, something that will excite them about our "present." I wonder also! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Lynn, what a treasure you have in that photo of your grandfather! I think daguerreotypes are just fascinating, and such treasures. Yes, he indeed was an interesting and talented man. I was so happy to share this information, and I am very grateful you stopped by and commented. Thank you!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Peggy, Thank you for visiting my hub and reading it. I enjoyed learning more and sharing about Louis Daguerre.

      What a priceless thing, to have that daguerreotype of your grandfather! Yes, I think it does make things so much more interesting. I am sure thankful we have come so far in photography.

      I am most grateful for your vote and tweet as well, that is very kind of you. :)

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Brandon, yes it is amazing how far we have come in so many things. I am also so thankful for everyone who has made an invention that impacts the lives of so many others. Thanks for the comment.

    • miljac64 profile image


      6 years ago from Bjelovar, Croatia

      It is impressive to be able to see something so far away back in the past! This is exciting, every time I see it again. Moment of past time long ago, as it actually looked like, available to us, future people (for them). I wonder will some future man be excited to see our present...

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      6 years ago

      I actually have a daguerrotype of my great great grandfather and I cherish it. Thank you for writing about this most interesting and talented man.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for assembling this history of Daguerre and his background. I actually have a Daguerreotype of my grandfather. Knowing the background interests of Mr. Daguerre made this even more interesting. What a long way we have come in the field of photography! Votes up and will tweet.

    • Brandon Spaulding profile image

      Brandon Spaulding 

      6 years ago from Yahoo, Contributor

      Very interesting. We can all thank him for leading the way in photography. Now, we are at a place where we can put photos online. What a long way we have come. Thanks to all the people who made the features of today possible through ages of discoveries and inventions.


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