Assessing the Impacts of Daguerreotype Technology on The Development of Photography


Photographic technology has evolved in chronological sequence.

Using a camera that is focused on an item for varying amounts of time, an image is generated on a silver plate that has been treated with iodine and then covered with a mercury film.

The term “development” refers to the evolution of photographic manufacturing processes and equipment.

To take a picture is both a science and an art.

The term “equipment” refers to the numerous photographic instruments that were used throughout the research period.

Reasons for distributing

This study will contribute to the under-researched topic of daguerreotype as it pertains to future advances in photography. There has been a lot of research into the history of photography, but not nearly as much has been done to examine how daguerreotype technology might affect present and future technological breakthroughs. In order to validate, examine, and clarify the current information, as well as to bridge the knowledge gap in this sector, a systematic research is needed.

In addition to possibly leading to the creation of a new technology, the outcomes of this study will also indicate areas for additional investigation. The findings of this investigation will be presented in a comprehensive report aimed at academics and product engineers/developers. Therefore, the language chosen will be basic enough to be understandable by both kinds of people. As a result, the technology will be able to be improved and academic concerns will also be identified.

After everything is said and done, the research will provide suggestions on how daguerreotype technology might be improved and integrated into current photography methods.

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An Introduction to the Daguerreotype Process

By Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, a French citizen, and proclaimed by Dominique-Francois-Argo of the French Academy of Science, the Daguerreotype photo process was devised in 1839. (Coe 1978, p. 66). Every subsequent photographic innovation was based on this pioneering camera prototype (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004). Despite the fact that the name “daguerreotype” relates to the photographic process, it is commonly used to describe the camera as well. This period was critical to the development of the camera’s technology because it produced the first image that resembled modern photography in any meaningful way (Beaton & Buckland 1989, p.25). When compared to today’s photos, pinhole cameras were too simplistic and would leave a large gap. The daguerreotype is the most ancient kind of photography that is comparable to current photography. Daguerreotype cameras use an optical lens and paper similar to current cameras to create photographs (Sandweiss, 2009). As opposed to today’s film, the daguerreotype paper was hard, brittle, and glossy.

Daguerreotype technology was the precursor to modern photography, and the procedures used to develop images in darkrooms today are substantially the same as those used in the daguerreotype process (Habbard 2005, p.46). Comparing and contrasting the existing components of filmmaking and photographic technologies, these commonalities may be seen clearly (Leggat 1995, p.70). For example, a photosensitive film substance is employed in the capture of images in both the daguerreotype and contemporary photography (The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2004). A huge advance over the brittle and hard substance that was employed in the early days, this photosensitive material has developed through time to become thinner and more flexible, allowing it to be folded and transported easily. If Daguerre were to go back in time and observe a contemporary film camera in action today, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for him to see the components and workings stay the same as they were in Daguerre’s day.

Since Daguerre, camera technology has progressed at a snail’s pace until the 1920s, when the introduction of the television sped things up significantly. The significant developments in photographic technology were motivated by the competition among media firms to see who could come up with the best technology (Marcy 2012, 108).

Museums and archives

The Museum of Photography of the Royal Society of Arts

Located at Fenton House, England, the museum’s holdings include some of the most important images in photography’s history. Almost all of the photographic equipment samples needed for this investigation may be found in this collection. This museum’s collection of photographic artifacts and information will help us better comprehend how photography has evolved through time. As a main source of data, a visit to the museum will be vital to this study’s legitimacy.

Daguerreotypes of Hine from the sixth plate. Lucius Alonso Hine (born Lucius Alonso Hine)

This collection contains text, graphics, images, and other ephemera. Daguerreotypes, as they were traditionally used, will be documented in this repository, which will aid the research. Using it as a major evidence for the progression of photography from daguerreotypes to the present day, it demonstrates the significance of older as well as more recent technological advances.

The Project’s Academic Expert

At Penn State, William B. White is a geochemistry professor and a member of the faculty. As a result of his study in the area of light-sensitive materials, he has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge in the field of photography. Because of his background and stance on the subject, he’ll be an invaluable asset to our investigation. He is a valuable source of primary data that is rich in detail and capable of providing explanation when required.

In photography, a photographer

As a professional photographer, Ben Long has extensive expertise in painting, photography, and teaching. He is situated in the United States Macworld magazine is where he presently works as an editor. For this project’s success, his advice and moral support might be crucial, particularly in light of his competence in this area (Andujar 2011).

Interviewing Potential Co-Workers

When it comes to comparing modern technologies to daguerreotypes, customers at photography stores are the best source of user-centered data and first-hand accounts of their experiences with items made using the daguerreotype technique. Research will be able to generate suggestions on how to progress technology and product development in a user-centered manner after this data has been reviewed.

The project’s goal is to interview a photographer who has worked in the field for many generations. These folks will provide advice on how to maximize the efficiency of various parts of photographic equipment from different eras. The project may discover a mix of key traits that have gathered during the time period under examination, but which are now fragmented and unrecognized via the study of this data. This information. These characteristics may be combined to create high-performance photographic equipment.

Those who create software and other goods. These experts know how to combine various materials to create effective technology. They’re the ones pushing this industry forward with cutting-edge technology. It is hoped that they may provide light on how daguerreotype traits can be incorporated into modern technology. Daguerreotype technology is used extensively in picture development today, and they understand why certain of its properties may not be relevant in the modern environment.

These may be government or international groups tasked to manage the degree of photography development and output. They may be able to prohibit or limit particular items or methods of production based on laws and policies. They are a treasure trove of knowledge on why certain technologies and products fade away and what may be done to improve the present procedures and equipment currently in use (European Daguerreotype Association 2015, p.22).

Relevant Web Sites and Literature
Additional literature on this topic can be accessed from various contemporary websites three of which shall be briefly discussed here. The first website is of The Metropolitan Museum of Art which talks about Daguerre (1787–1851) and the invention of photography. It is useful in demonstrating how photography evolved during Daguerre’s time period. One of the rationales for selecting this source for further research for the class lies in the fact that it is a credible source published by a museum catalog as recommended by the professor for the dissertation. It meets the standards set out for a valid source for this dissertation including the date and authoritative author. The second site that can be used as a reliable source for this topic is which is a collection of photographs that depict the effect of daguerreotype technology in the modern society (contemporary use). This helps to establish a timeline that can give a quick glimpse of how photography has evolved over the times and thus making it relevant to this paper. Additionally, it is published by a credible institution as designated by the .org extension in its address. The final source is is a website with an immense collection of artworks that reflect the history of the artistic process. It is similar to the previous website but serves to corroborate its data. This helps to improve and confirm the validity of the data, as with research multiple sources on the same subject with consistent results are often an indication of independent verifiability and thus credibility.

The genius of photography from 1839 to the present day: from the book by Beaton and Buckland (1989) The Magic Image: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the present day it is evident that the previous technologies inspire the preceding technological advancements in the field of photograph making. For example, during the age of hand drawing, it was hard to draw pictures that are really identical to the object. It was also difficult to draw images of people from different perspectives, say a picture of people in a street from stereotypical points. With the invention of daguerreotype photography, it is now the level of precision and the ability to take photographs from stereotypical positions has been improved. This, therefore, demonstrates that the gaps in the past if well understood, can inspire the technological advancement going forward.

Publication by Coe, (1978) Cameras: from daguerreotypes to instant pictures details the chronology of advancement in the field of photography. The analysis of the quality of equipment as it relates to the quality of an image is given. This publication, therefore, serves to motivate an inquiry into the topic by giving the requisite base of information and defining the knowledge gap in the field of photography. The publication has also demonstrated with clarity the importance of daguerreotype technology as it relates to the time taken to produce a photograph. This aspect of time and the cost of production are the major breakthrough in the field of photography as they enable pictures to be accessible to many people. Recently, however, it can be argued that the cost of photographs made is still expensive since some people are still unable to afford pictures the wish to have. This makes it interesting for this study to further inquire the reason photographs are still not affordable with technological advancement. Was daguerreotype the most affordable technology? How then can incorporation daguerreotype technology make it affordable for everybody to access photographs at will today? This publication, therefore, helps to identify the knowledge gaps for this study.

The source by Marcy (2012) named The Camera and the Press: American Visual and Print Culture in the Age of Daguerreotypes has given an analysis of how the daguerreotypes can be employed to influence the readers. From in America, the technology was employed to influence the political perception of users of these photographs and this way their thinking about racism was influenced. It has also detailed how Daguerreotype technology helped to produce more accurate fictional pictures. This makes it interesting for this study to explore and improve the understanding of how to see the technology from the reader’s point of view. What then can we borrow from how daguerreotypes were applied to improve the clarity and precision on the reader’s perspective? What can we learn from this and how can it inspire a user-centered technological advancement?

Relevant Photographs

Source of photographs: the internet; under fair use policy.

Works Cited

Beaton Cecil, and Buckland, Gail. The Magic Image: The Genius of Photography from

1839 to the Present Day. London: Pavilion Books, 1989.

Andujar, Ray. Living in the Shadows, Thriving in the Light: The Impacts of Daguerreotypes

Within the House of Seven Gables. Southern Connecticut University. ProQuest Dissertation Publishing 150427, 2011.

Coe, Brian. Cameras: from Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures. New York: Crown

Publishers, 1978., 2016. Christopher Brento West Daguerreotypes, Accessed 2 May 2017.

European Daguerreotype Association, 2015. Outside the Studio Landscape and Cityscape

Daguerreotypes. Daguerreotype Journal, Issue 3, pp. 1-29.

Habbard, Melanie. “Turn it, a little”: the Influence of the Daguerreotype and the

Stereograph on Emily Dickinson’s Use of Manuscript Variants. The University of Manitoba. Proquest Central, 2005.

Leggat, Robert. A history of photography from the beginning till 1920s. London: Penguin

Publishers, 1995.

Marcy, J. Denius. The Camera and the Press: American Visual and Print Culture in the Age of Daguerreotypes. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

Sandweiss, A. Martha. (2009). Photography in nineteenth-century America. The Journal of Gilder Lehrman Institute, Accessed 2 May, 2017.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2004). Daguerre (1787–1851) and the invention of

photography.: Accessed 2 May 2017.

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