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The early years: Technology, vision, users 1839-1875
The outcome of one process was a unique, unduplicatable, laterally reversed monochrome picture on a metal plate that was called a daguerreotype after one of its inventors, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre.
The other system produced an image on paper that was also monochromatic and tonally aswell as laterally reversed—a negative. When placed in contact with another chemically treated surface and exposed to sunlight, the negative image was transferred in reverse, resulting in a picture with normal spatial and tonal values. The result of this procedure was called photogenic drawing and evolved into The calotype, or Talbotype, named after its inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot.
It wasTalbot's system that provided the basis for all substantive developments in photography.
The camera's images appeared and remained viable because they filled cultural and sociological needs that were not being met by pictures created by hand. The photograph was the ultimate response to a social and cultural appetite for a more accurate and real-looking representation of reality, a need that hadits origins in the Renaissance.
This evolution toward naturalism in representation can be seen clearly in artists' treatment of landscape. Considered a necessary but not very important clement in the painting of religious and classical themes in the 16th and 17th centuries, landscape had become valued for itself by the beginning of the 19th. This interest derived initially from a romantic viewof the wonders of the universe and became more scientific as painters began to regard clouds, trees, rocks, and topography as worthy of close study, as exemplified in a pencil drawing of tree growth by Daguerre himself.

Woodland Scene, n.d.
Pencil on paper.
International Museum of Photography
at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

Another circumstance thatprepared the way for photography's acceptance was the change in art patronage and the emergence of a large new audience for pictorial images. As the church and noble families diminished in power and influence, their place as patrons of the arts was taken by the growing middle class. Less schooled in aesthetic matters than the aristocrats, this group preferred immediately comprehensible images ofa variety of diverting subjects. To supply the popular demand for such works, engravings and (after 1820) lithographs portraying anecdotal scenes, landscapes, familiar structures, and exotic monuments were published as illustrations in inexpensive periodicals and made available in portfolios and individually without texts. When the photograph arrived on the scene, it slipped comfortably intoplace, both literally and figuratively, among these graphic images designed to satisfy middle-class cravings for instructive and entertaining pictures.
The marvel being unveiled was the result of years of experimentation that had begun in the 1820s when Niepce had endeavored to produce an image by exposing to light a treated metal plate that he subsequently hoped to etch and print on a press. Hesucceeded in making an image of a dovecote in an exposure that took more than eight hours, which accounts for the strange disposition of shadows on this now barely discernible first extant photo-graph. When his researches into heliography, as he called it, reached a standstill, he formed a partnership with the painter Daguerre, who, independently, had become obsessed with the idea of making theimage seen in the camera obscura permanent.
Daguerre published a manual on daguerreotyping, which proved to many of his readers that the process was more easily written about than executed. Nevertheless, despite the additional difficulty of transporting unwieldly cameras and equipment to suitable locales.

Joseph Nicephore Niepce. View from His Window at Le Gras, c. 1827. Heliograph. Gernsheim...
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