18 November 2011

Photographic Portraits - Louis Daguerre

The magic of a photographic portrait was made possible by the contributions of Louis Daguerre (18 November 1787 – 10 July 1851) in the development of what was called the Daguerreotype images. The process started by first exposing silver-coated copper plates to iodine, obtaining silver iodide. Then Daguerre exposed them to light for several minutes, coated the plate with mercury vapor heated to 75° Celsius (to amalgamate the mercury with the silver) and finally fixing the image in salt water. This process gave an exact image and allowed photography to come to the masses. It was still an expensive and time consuming event but available to all through trained photographers. Many great examples of Daguerreotypes can be found at the Library of Congress to explore. Thanks to Daguerre's innovations, photography has become not only an everyday activity but a beautiful way to explore history.

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