Thematic album for the 235th birth anniversary Louis Daguerre

Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (18 November 1787-10 July 1851) was a French artist, chemist and inventor, one of the photography and photographic process inventors.

Louis Daguerre spent his childhood in Cormeilles-en-parisis, where he was born in the family of minor official. Louis studied in primary school, where he learned to write practically without mistakes and wrote a good hand. His father was happy when Louis Jacques became an apprentice architect in Orleans. Louis himself, who from the childhood was fond of drawing, had a keen eye, a steady hand and already learned the laws of perspective, was glad too. In 1804, the young man left Orleans for Paris in in the pursuance of fame. He had been working as apprentice decorator at the Grand Opéra for three years. After that, Louis dad been working as a painter for ten years under Pierre Prevost, the renowned master of panoramic painting. From 1816, Daguerre was appointed the art director of the “Ambipo-Comique” theatre and the Bohemian Montmartre hero. He sang in cafes, danced in a corps de ballet and tightroped as if he were an acrobat. He shocks party friends, doing wheelbarrows. In 1814, he exhibits his paintings at the Salon of Paris. Hence, they are not the ones that make the name of Daguerre famous.
He was engaged in creating colorful and spectacular dioramas. A diorama is a complex combination of mechanics, optics and art. Its central element is a translucent canvas stretched at the back of the arch opening, like a backstage. All dioramas were comprised of several paintings, arranged in different layouts that were reshuffled and illuminated in different ways, creating the illusion of changing parts of a day. Once, while painting a scenery, Daguerre noticed the image of the street that appeared on the wet paint.  Small hole in the curtain acted as a camera obscura. The image was still visible the next day -- it was consummated by the drying paint. He started looking for a way to preserve the light-painted image.
To make it easier to create pictures for dioramas, Daguerre had the completely fantastic idea of finding out the way of retaining true-life images created by a lens on the screen of camera obscura.

Daguerre did not invent photography, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833), a French inventor that named the method heliography, preceded him. In 1829, Daguerre contracted with Niepce to work together on this method. From 1829 until Niepce's death in 1833, the partners failed to improve or develop this invention, while Daguerre, who proceeded with his own experiments, advanced. In 1837, he discovered the developing effect of mercury. His idea was to make an image on the polished surface of a silver plate soaked in iodide vapors that made it sensitive to light. He placed this plate in camera obscura and exposed it. Than he developed the plate with mercury vapors.
By 1839, the camera obscura method, called daguerreotype, had finally taken shape. Despite its apparent success, the mass production of daguerreotype views could not be launched on a commercial basis -- its creators promised to reveal its principles only after the contract had been signed. However, the businesspersons were in no hurry to invest money in the dubious enterprise. Not having received the support of entrepreneurs, Daguerre turned to the renowned physicist and astronomer, director of the Paris Observatory, Dominique François Jean Arago (1786-1853), and spoke in detail about his invention, which the scientist praised highly. Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850), the renowned physicist and chemist, also spoke highly of Daguerreotype. Speaking to the French Chamber of Peers, he said, "This discovery will serve as the new art origin in the context of the old civilization. It will create a new era and will forever be a symbol of glory". The French authorities bought the rights in this technology and made it public domain. After that, the name of Daguerre and his technology became known all over the world. He rose to fame, fortune and confidence. The name of Niepce was almost forgotten. Numerous articles about the invention of Daguerre were published. It was registered in England, Austria and Germany. Photographic studios were opened and amateurs enthusiastically learned the technique of daguerreotype. The 1839th went down in the history of world science, art and culture as the year of the invention of photography. Daguerre died on 10 July 1851 in Brie sur Marne. His name is inscribed on the list of greatest French scientists on the ground floor of the Eiffel Tower.

In the museum Photo Gallery you can view a Thematic photo album composed for the 235th birth anniversary of Louis Daguerre and an album of photographic works by Carl Fischer studio (1859 - after 1923) are posted in the museum Photo Gallery.

At the beginning of November, the Day of examining photographs was celebrated. Examining something is a great art. One can flip through an album of photos many times, and only for the hundredth time realize something mysterious and important. Photos can transfer us to the past time or remind us of certain events. Moreover, old photographs, which depict unfamiliar places or strangers, touch our hearts and make us dream of something fascinating and bygone.

Who said that a time machine does not exist? Today is a proper time for opening your old family albums or examine the section “Photographs” on the museum Collection website. Moreover, in our virtual Photo Gallery you can see a thematic photo album prepared for the Day of Viewing Old Photos, and an album of photographs by Karl Fischer.

Ref. https://www.nkj.ru/archive/articles/16092/ (Science and Life, DAGER - THE CREATOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY);
Chibisov K.V. Essays on the History of Photography. Moscow: Art, 1987.