Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank you, Louis Daguerre

Pershing Square, wall & palm tree (C) 2007 Glenn A Primm Photography

Pershing Square, wall and palm tree, 2007

Two hundred twenty four years ago today, November 18, 1787 to be precise, Louis Daguerre, the inventor of photography was born.

The Los Angeles Times describes him as "a painter, a physicist and a dreamer who wanted to somehow capture those images he saw in his camera obscura." Eventually he figured out a way to capture those images, although the process that he first invented involved noxious chemicals, super-long exposures and up to 8 hours in his chemical laboratory. Unfortunately, the images were not permanent and few examples of his original process have survived. Fortunately, he moved to Paris and met and partnered with Nicéphore Niépce. In about 1827 they developed a more permanent process, one very similar to the film process that we still use today, if we use film at all.

Today we record our memories on digitized electronic bits, but it all goes back to Louis and his crazy fantasy that we might be able to somehow make a permanent record of our dreams.

After over thirty years of filmwork the above image is one of the very last I made in roughly July of 2007 using a Daguerre/Niépce-like film process before switching entirely to digital.

Joyeux anniversaire, Louis!

Exposure data:  Nikon N70 w/Nikkor 35mm f2.8 AIs, 10 sec @ f8, trailing flash