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Related: photography - visual culture - 1840s - France


The daguerreotype is named after its inventor, French artist and chemist Louis J.M. Daguerre, who announced its perfection (after years of experimentation) in 1839 (the French Academy of Sciences announced the process on January 9 of that year). Daguerre's patent was acquired by the French Government. On August 19, 1839 the French Government announced the invention a gift "Free to the World." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daguerreotype [Dec 2004]

Earlier forms of reproduction, such as woodcuts, etching, lithography, and so on, could replicate objects, but photography was different: "From today, painting is dead!" claimed artist Paul Delaroche on seeing his first Daguerreotype in 1839. Photography took over traditional roles of painting, immediately depicting landscapes, the still life and making portraits, etc; doubtless making portrait artists such as Delaroche redundant.

"For the first time in the process of pictorial reproduction, photography freed the hand of the most important artistic functions which henceforth devolved only upon the eye looking into a lens". --http://www.obsolete.com/artwork/commentary.html [Dec 2004]

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