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Dauggerreotype-The First Photo

March 15, 2011
Wonderful wonder of wonders !! ..the real black art of true magic arises and cries avaunt. All nature shall paint herself-fields, rivers, trees, house,plains,mountains,cities, shall all paint themselves at a bidding, and at a few moments’ notice….here is a revolution in art.

These enthusiastic lines appeared in one of the first American accounts of photography-an article from the April 13, 1839, edition of the New Yorker titled” New Discovery in the Fine arts”. the hyperbole is understandable.the daguerreotype image was astonishing and immediately became the subject of wide cultural interest. Men of science were intrigued by its technical and chemical intricacies. the public was excited by its potential to mechanize-or automate-the picture-making process. artists and writers were fascinated by its representational and philosophical implications-the radically new standard of visual truth it seemed so obvious to embody. The daguerreotype American shores with the force of a cultural hurricane, it swept away a familiar set of pictorial assumptions and practices, and established new ones in their place.
-Kieth Davis-The Origins Of American Photography

I am fascinated with Dauggereotypes because of their originality and the craftsmanship it took to do it well. The expressions of the people  who posed for the very first portraits; who, to no fault of their own had to remain still for up to 60 seconds while their picture was being taken. You still get a sense of who the person was, what they might have been thinking, their social status and occupation. The images mark a time of  life before cars,  glossy magazines, and the internet.
Below are a few of my Dauggereotype-inspired images, shot with my Nikon D200 and post-processed . A few of which will be in my coming book, “The Untimely Pursuits Of Pleasure”.
Photo By: D. Austin Model: Jodie

Photo By: D. Austin Model: Jodie - c.2009

Photo By: D. Austin Title: Viewer - White Rock Lake. Dallas, TX c.2009

Photo By: D. Austin  Acoustic Artist: Nerdkween

Photo By: D. Austin Acoustic Artist: Nerdkween -Atlanta, GA

Photo By: D. Austin  Title: Sketch  Coney Island, NY c.2009

Photo By: D. Austin Title: Sketch -Coney Island, NY c.2009

Photo By: D. Austin  Title: Portal   White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX 2009
Photo By: D. Austin Title: Portal White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX 2009

~ For historic examples google search of Dauggerreotype-images ~

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