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Sunday, 6 February 2011
Portrait of a Daguerreotypist
Daguerreotypist coloring a plate with a daguerreian coloring box. Illustrated is the standard box with eight bottles of powdered colors, brushes and a palette for mixing colors. The powders were so fine that they adhered to the plate with as little as the moisture from an expelled breath.
Portrait of a Daguerreotypist (detail)
Close-up of the coloring box showing a bottle of liquid in front of the box which could be used as an agent to mix colors before applying to the plate.
Portrait of John H. Fitzgibbon, daguerreotypist
The daguerreotype resulted from years of experimentation undertaken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre. The first publicly announced photographic process, it was demonstrated to the Paris Academy of Sciences in January 1839. As this image of daguerreotypist John J. Fitzgibbon (1816?-1882) shows, the process was a complicated one in which a silver-coated copper plate was sensitized with iodine vapor, exposed in the camera, and then developed in mercury vapor. The result was a grainless image of exquisite detail.