Louis Daguerre – Biography of Louis Daguerre

Jacques daguerre

Cormeilles-en-Parisis, France


Known mainly as the inventor of photography, the so-called Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was born in Cormeilles, France, on November 18, 1787, under the sign of Scorpio.
This man has been culturally formed by studying architecture in his youth and then dedicating himself to painting and photography.

Daguerre was a second-rate painter in the Paris of the first half of the 19th century, he achieved his commercial success precisely with the invention of the “Diorama”, a show consisting of the formation of the spectator’s illusion that he was in another place. through huge images, that could be moved and that were combined with a play of lights, noises and sounds, etc. This is how he describes it mainly, so that it seems that the viewer is in various situations such as a battle, a storm, etc; or for all this to be credible the paintings had to be very realistic, for this reason, Daguerre was interested in the application of the camera obscura to the Diorama.

In the process of invention and development of his person, when he needed optical material, Daguerre contacted the Chevaliers, father and son, who in turn put him in contact with Niépce in 1826. And it was by means of letters that Daguerre He offered himself as a collaborator of Niépce in his works but he always refused, until due to family problems and loneliness, he had to give in to an association contract with him for the development and commercialization of the invention. And it is in this contract that Niépce is recognized as the inventor of photography, fixing Daguerre’s contribution to simple improvements in the camera obscura and lithography.

It is at this moment that the strong work season begins for Daguerre, who begins to work on improving the chemical process with the use of silver iodide and mercury vapor. In 1833 Niépce died without the invention being made public and two years later Daguerre took advantage of the economic problems of the deceased’s son to make changes to the signed contract. He also perfected the daguerreotype, of which an image was obtained from a sensitive layer of silver nitrate, which was spread on a hot base of common salt, developed with mercury vapor; and Daguerre’s innovation consisted in immersing the plate in the solution, this made it stay fixed.

But in this same year, a new and third modification of the contract arises that supposes the disappearance of Niépce’s name and that the procedure is renamed “Daguerreotype”.
Later, in approximately 1839 he dedicated himself to promoting the invention by various means such as his attempt to create a society, and it was after a resolution that thanks to his actions he managed to contact François Aragó, a liberal scientist and politician, who presented before the French Academy of Sciences publicly the invention. Finally, the French State buys the invention for an annual pension of 6,000 francs for Daguerre and another of 4,000 francs for Niépce’s son.

With this contribution, the time necessary for taking images is reduced to a period between five and forty minutes. Daguerre achieves unanimous recognition throughout the world, and receives nominations from foreign academies and French and foreign decorations.