Scott's Photographica Collection

Striking Daguerreotype Portrait


Striking Portrait
Striking Daguerreotype Portrait

Daguerreotypes continue to amaze me.  A well made daguerreotype reveals more detail and subtlety than the most modern films.  A reason for this, is the daguerreotype plate is grain-less, a quality no other photographic process possesses.

Viewing a daguerreotype to its best advantage takes a certain amount of experience.  The image needs to be held just right to catch the light in the correct way.  Ironically the modern digital scanner may be the best instrument for capturing a daguerreotype's beauty.  This image was scanned with an Epson V850 scanner.   I find good results are easier to achieve with a scanner than with either a digital or film camera.

Most likely this photograph dates to the 1850s.  It is an example of excellent daguerreotype technique.  Daguerreotype photography was very difficult to master.  It took talent and experience to produce an image with good tonal separation.  This woman's clothing was a good test of the photographer's skills.  The photographer captured the richness of her dark clothing, yet her bright bow is not solarised (over exposed), and her skin tone has a  realistic value.  There is wonderful subtle detail in the woman's veil.   The smears and faint lines in the image are on the cover glass; the daguerreotype plate appears to be in excellent condition.

This is a sixth-plate size image.


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Page created August 20, 2001; updated December 20, 2020