Posted on November 18, 2014
This French artist was a panoramic painter and a famous designer for the theater. He invented diorama theater and studied architecture. But he is not known, now, for any of these things.
I don't know much about photography, but even I recognized his name, because he developed an early photographic process that we call daguerreotype in his honor.
A daguerreotype is an image on a bright mirror-like surface of metallic silver.
At first, Daguerre worked with another inventor name Nicephore Niepce, but the inventor suddenly died before they had released their invention to the world. Six years after his partner's death, Daguerre announced the invention to the French Academy of Sciences, explaining and demonstrating the process to only one person, but showing off the results—the daguerreotypes themselves—to others. People thought the early photos were miracles, and news of the invention spread.
Daguerre gave rights to the invention to the French government in exchange for lifetime pensions for himself and for Niepce's son. And France published working instructions “free to the world” – isn't that nice?
I thought it was interesting to note that, of the 72 names of French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians inscribed on the Eiffel Tower, one of them is Louis Daguerre!
Learn more about the daguerreotype process here.
Modern artist Chuck Close used this 150-year-old process to make some striking photos of people.
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