The invention of photography has been officially attributed to Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851), who developed a technique that came to be called “daguerreotypy.” This process, which involved the exposure to light of a copper plate coated with silver that had been treated with iodine fumes to make it light-sensitive, was presented in 1839 by François Jean Dominique Arago (1786-1853) to the Académie des Sciences and the Académie des Beaux-Arts of Paris. Daguerre’s invention led to profound cultural changes, generating great excitement but also some apprehension, including fears that it might render painting obsolete. The first half of the 19th century saw the invention of other photographic techniques as well, such as the “calotype” developed by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), a process for producing multiple positive prints from a negative.

 

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