Louis Daguerre

From ArticleWorld

Louis Daguerre was the French inventor in the early nineteenth century who pioneered the ‘daguerreotype’ process of photography, the earliest form of photography, that allowed for small photographs of people and subjects.


Born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Louis Jacques Mandé Daugerre was one of France’s most illustrious artists in the early nineteenth century. With a love for chemistry, art, and invention, Louis Daguerre first became famous for making pictures in 1824, where he showed Dioramas throughout France, England, and Scotland. Around the same time, Nicéophore Niépce, another inventor and innovator, had produced the first photograph in the world. The images however were blurry and the subject too distant. Nicéophore Niépce had a great respect for Louis Daguerre and contacted him steadily and frequently, asking him to collaborate with him, to create a clear photograph. After an initial hesitation, Louis Daguerre decided to visit Nicéophore Niépce and see his creation. After visiting him and realizing the vast potential that lay ahead, Louis Daguerre was convinced that together they could create a clear image. The two men then signed a formal agreement to cooperate together for four years. They both shared their secrets and inventions. Nicéophore Niépce unfortunately died in 1833.

Six years later, after much work, Louis Daguerre announced that he had perfected the process which he now called the ‘daguerreotype.’ There were other inventors and artists creating work all over Europe at this time, especially in Scotland, England, Holland, and France. Yet none of them gained as much recognition and opportunities as Louis Daguerre. Louis Daguerre knew his audience well and combined both artistic creativity with marketing savvy and similar to a coup d’état, with one fell swoop, he convinced the French Academy of Sciences, one of France’s most prestigious institutions, to sponsor his creation, which they announced with great fanfare on January 9, 1939. The patent was then acquired by the French government who eight months later on August 19, 1939, declared that the daguerreotype process of photography was a “Free gift to the world.”

During this time however, the daguerreotype remained solely in France. Families would travel over the English channel to come to France to get their daguerreotypes taken. In England, Antoine Claudet was one of the few people who was allowed to take over daguerrotypes.

On July 10, 1951, Louis Daguerre, the modern inventor of photography, died in Bry-sur-Marne, about 12 km away from the nation’s capital of Paris.