Daguerreotype of two Women


Here is an interesting daguerreotype of two young women. A bit of a somber portrait
taken possibly in the 1850s
This was damaged missing part of the case and the image itself was not sealed that may be the reason that there is so much damage on the photo but we are left with just enough to glimpse this beautiful portrait

2 responses to “Daguerreotype of two Women

  1. Hi, thanks for the new image. Always with the questions… I wondered whether you have discovered any documentary evidence that explains why the serious unsmiling look was most often demanded in 19th century portrait photography? In contrast to the ‘kind smile and guitar’ previous shot which is an exception that proves the rule (and later), it does seem to be a directed thing in Daguerreotypes, rather than a free choice. Was it technical (holding a smile for a long exposure was more difficult than the serious look)? Was it about a sense of decorum? Did the photographer tell the sitter, or was it more widely discussed in books and magazines so that sitters knew that the sourpuss face was expected of them?
    I guess this might be almost unknowable nowadays, but that is the best bit of history, like what did a cup of coffee taste like in, say, 1850?


    • Good question, I am sure there are many theories why subjects in early photographs did not smile as much as they did in later photos.I think since early on the process of making a daguerreotype could take many minutes it may have just been easier for the sitter to have a natural pose instead of trying to hold a smile for any length of time. By the time the photo of the woman with the guitar was taken the process of photography had advanced so much that the photo was taken in second instead of the minutes it took many years before.I am by no means an expert in the making of photography so I help my return comment helped a bit.At this point I am very much a student in the history and process of early images as well as collector.

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