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Louis Daguerre’s Invention of Daguerreotype Photography and Diorama Theatre

 “I have seized the light! I have arrested his flight! The sun himself in future shall draw my pictures!”

Louis Daguerre


Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was a French artist, painter, photographer, and developer of the diorama theatre. He is most known for inventing the daguerreotype, one of the earliest widely used photographic processes. In order to make silver-plated copper sheets sensitive to light, he treated them with iodine. He then exposed the sheets to a camera and \”developed\” the pictures using warm mercury vapour. He revealed his technique to the public in the latter part of the summer of 1839.


Louis Daguerre was born on November 18th, 1787 in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Val-d\’Oise, in France. He gained his expertise by serving as an apprentice in the fields of architecture, theatre design, and panorama painting. He found work as an opera scene painter and an inland revenue officer. One of his early creations was the Diorama, a popular tool demonstrating theatrical painting and lighting effects that was first displayed in Paris in 1822. He created it using his expertise in theatre lighting and artistic abilities. In the middle of the 1820s, it rose to prominence as a kind of entertainment, with critics praising its enchantments. The popularity of the show increased after the opening of another \”diorama\” structure in London\’s \”Regent\’s Park\” in September 1823, which cleared the way for imitations by other British artists including Clarkson Stanfield and David Roberts. In the middle of the 1820s, as an improvement on the well-liked panorama painting, the \”Diorama Theatre\” gained praise from both audiences and reviewers. Regrettably, a fire in 1839 completely destroyed the \”Regent\’s Park\” building.


He was inspired by camera obscuras and set out to discover a means to capture the image they produce. Daguerre\’s discovery was greatly impacted by views of modernity and capitalism because his major objective was to advance and modernise the method previously used to record images and to upgrade what he saw using a camera obscura. Although Louis\’ method was novel, it had a problem equivalent to the impact on the photographer\’s health because mercury vapours are hazardous. Despite all of this, photographers continued to make extensive use of the daguerreotype since it provided a positive image with incredibly fine detail. Additionally, it was a tool that sparked the emergence of travelling photographers.


In the latter years of his life, Louis returned to creating \”dioramas\” and painted a number of them for churches in and around the eastern Paris suburb of Bry-sur-Marne. The Bry-sur-Marne church is home to one of his diorama paintings. On July 10, 1851, Louis passed away from a heart attack in Bry-sur-Marne, where he was buried and is commemorated by a monument. Because of his development of the daguerreotype, a method for creating irreversible photos, Louis Daguerre rose to prominence as one of the founding fathers of photography. He was the first to possess lighting and scenic effects expertise, allowing the paintings in his theatre to change based on the viewer\’s perspective. He is one of the 72 French mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who have had their names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower in honour of their achievements.

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Daguerre
  2. https://www.theartstory.org/artist/daguerre-louis/
  3. https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/things-about-the-man-who-gave-us-the-first-practical-process-of-photography-known-as-daguerreotype-1281525-2018-07-10

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