What is a Daguerreotype Camera and the Oldest Known Photos ~ Kwentology


Click! Today, a digital camera can capture a scene in less than a second. That was not always so. In the early days of photography, it took up 20 minutes to take a picture. These early photographs, called daguerreotypes (dah-gehr-oh-types), were produced by a process developed by Louis Daguerre who lived in France.

To take a daguerreotype, a photographer placed a silver-plated copper sheet covered with iodine into a camera and exposed it to light. Because material wasn't very sensitive to light, it had to be exposed for a long time. Then the photographer placed the sheet in a cabinet with mercury vapor to develop the image. The fumes from the vapor combined with the silver to produce an image. To stop the developing process, the photographer rinsed the sheet in a salty solution.

Image of The Old Camera Daguerreotype

Daguerreotypes caught on as more and more people wanted their picture taken. For the first time in history, people could preserve actual images of themselves and their loved ones. Unfortunately, daguerreotypes were very delicate and many of these photographs faded or fell apart over time. By the 1850s, the daguerreotype became less popular as faster and cheaper ways to take photos became available.

Kwento Factoid

Image of Early Images Taken by Daguerreotype

Posing for a daguerreotype portrait was time consuming. The process could take as long as 20 minutes. In order to not blur the photo, the person posing couldn't move.

Some Interesting Photos Captured by Daguerreotype

Image of Joseph Niepce

In 1826, Joseph Niepce, a Frenchman who worked with Daguerre, took the world's first photograph. The photo needed an exposure time of eight hours. It shows a view of a city from a window.

Image of Photo Taken by Daguerre

The first photograph taken by Daguerre in 1837, shows plaster casts next to a window.

Image of First News Photo Ever

This 1847 daguerreotype shows French police making an arrest. It is thought to be the first News photo ever.
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