History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

28 January, 2013

Daguerreotype Views

Though daguerreotypes were hugely popular for portraits that was hardly the limit of the medium. Photographic outdoors certainly brought challenges--things moved in long exposures, a lot of equipment had to be carried around, and not all colour wavelengths translated onto the plate equally--but, then as now, people wanted pictures of things. Today a selection of daguerreotypes focused not on people, but on places.

You can see many more (which I can't share here) in the online galleries of the Daguerrian Society.



Library of Congress

Niagara Falls, [1853-60], created by the studio of Matthew Brady. (Note: daguerreotypes, being direct positives, reverse the scene left to right, like a mirror). Source



Library of Congress

The Entrance to Independence Square, Philadelphia [1840-1856].  Source



Library of Congress

Portsmouth Square, San Francisco [before 1851]. Source




National Library of Wales

Margam Castle, Wales, 1841, by Rev. Calvert Richard Jones. Source



Library of Congress

The United States Patent Office, Washington DC, [c. 1846], taken by John Plumbe. Source



Library of Congress

A stereoscopic daguerreotype (yes, these existed!) of the Crystal Palace, London [1851-1860]. Source



Victoria and Albert Museum

Hoddy and John Munro Fishing at Flaipool, Scotland, 1847, by Horatio Ross. Note: the blue sky in this and some of the others isn't a result of the daguerreotype recording blue; it's the result of a later chemical reaction called solarization. Source



Library of Congress

The steamship Ben Campbell at a landing, [1852-1860]. Note: As you no doubt have noticed, daguerreotypes aren't exactly black and white--this image is a black and white photograph of the daguerreotype (see also parts of the frame, which are really gold). Contrasting the various ways of reproducing daguerreotypes seen in this post alone could be a study in itself!. Source



Library of Congress

The General Post Office in Washington DC [c. 1846] by John Plumbe (note solarization in the sky). Source



Library of Congress

A daguerreotype news photograph: a man (Joseph Avery) trapped on logs in the rapid current of the Niagara River. His boat had capsized; the two men with him were carried over the Falls and killed. Avery could not be rescued due to the current, and hung onto the log for eighteen hours before falling into the river. 1853.  Source



Library of Congress

A house in Cambridge, New York [1840-1860]. Source



Victoria and Albert Museum

A very early daguerreotype of London. Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square, 1839 (the first year of the daguerreotype), photographed by M. de Ste. Croix. Source



Library of Congress

Terraced houses on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 1854, by Frederick Richards. Source



George Eastman House

Mount Auburn Cemetery, Massachusetts, by Southworth and Hawes, c. 1853. Source



Library of Congress

More buildings on Chestnut St., Philadelphia, this time by William Mason, 1843. Source



Library of Congress

Another stereoscopic daguerreotype: a view of Paris. [1850-1860] Source



Library of Congress

San Francisco Harbour, [1850-51], in the midst of the gold rush. Source


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