Friday, February 5, 2010

Photoblogging Friday - 5

Today Photoblogging Friday goes back in time to the origins of commercial photography -- the daguerreotype.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre the inventor of the daguerreotype process announced his photographic process to the public on August 19, 1839 at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris. I should know, I was there.
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An early daguerreotype, Boulevard du Temple

Although the daguerreotype was soon replaced by other processes, it is responsible for such memorable photographs as the early portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and the wonderful shot of Edgar Allen Poe. who wrote of of the daguerreotype: "the instrument itself must undoubtedly be regarded as the most important, and perhaps the most extraordinary triumph of modern science.

The daguerreotype here is an early shot by Daguerre that is purportedly the first picture taken that shows an actual human being. Because of the long exposure necessary to register an image, any person on the street would simply be a blur or not show up at all. But the person in the lower left of this picture was having their shoes shined and was still long enough to show up in the final image.

The daguerreotype is a direct-positive process that creates a highly detailed image on a
copper plated sheet with a thin coat of silver. Because there is no negative created, to duplicate a daguerreotype photographers simply shoot another daguerreotype of the original. The process has its advocates today. This shot at right is from Jerry Spagnoli. Because I do not want to violate his rights the image here links back to his excellent portfolio site which I encourage you to check out.