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Old 09-17-2001, 01:52 PM
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Photography Trivia, History, etc.

Steve wants to stir up some converstaion in the forum. Anyone know some interesting trivia or history about cameras, photography, photographers, etc. that they'd like to share? Old or modern, it doesn't matter. Here's my first installment.

The first popular type of photograhy was daguerrotype, duh GHER uh type. This term is used for both the process itself and the photographs produced by the process. Daguerrotype is named for its creator, the French inventor, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre.

Daguerre perfected the process in 1837 and published the process in 1839. During the 1840's and 1850's Daguerrotype portraits became tremendously popular, especially in the United States.

The process consisted of

  • exposing copper plates to iodine, the fumes forming light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be used within an hour.

  • exposing to light - between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon available light.

  • developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees Centigrade. This caused the mercury to amalgamate with the silver.

  • fixing the image in a warm solution of common salt (later sodium sulphite was used.)

  • rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.

    Daguerrotype finally lost favor to other processes because

  • the pictures could not be reproduced, so each one was different -- no way to copy or mass produce.

  • The chemicals used in the process were extremely toxic.

  • The surface was not durable. Dagurreotypes were often kept between sheets of glass to protect delicate surface.

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