D is for Daguerreotype

| February 10, 2014

In one of my favorite classes at Rutgers we learned about early American photography, which starts with the Daguerreotype. The daguerreotype is a photographic technique invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839. A daguerreotype uses a silver or silver-coated-copper plate to develop an image in a camera obscura. The image is formed when the light-sensitive plate is exposed to light through a camera lens. A daguerreotype was a unique, direct positive image that could not produce copies.
This is the first widespread photographic technique and one of the first mechanical ways to capture visual scenes. It required about ten minutes of exposure with a brightly sunlit object. The oldest are Daguerre’s images of Paris.