From the beginning of time people have been fascinated with the ability to encapsulate and perpetuate the living into the form of an image. We can trace back drawings of animals in caves to the last stages of the Paleolithic era, about 20,000 years ago.

It was not until 1826 that Niepce took the very first photograph using a camera. The photograph was taken from the window of his Paris home of a nearby pigeon house and barn. Niepce called his pictures "Heliographs," which were exposed on pewter plate measuring 8 inches by 6 ½ inches, that had been sensitized with bitumen. The agonizing exposure would sometime take up to eight hours. Niepce formed a partnership with Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre to continue the "New Art". Unfortunately, Niepce died of a stroke in 1833 and left Daguerre to perfect the New Art all by himself.

This French painter was actively engaged in trying to secure permanent images with a camera obscura before entering into partnership in 1829 with Niepce. The latter had experimented with iodized plates (both pewter and silver-coated metal plates) before his death in 1833, but Daguerre alone perfected the finally adopted method of sensitizing the silver plates with the fumes of iodine. In 1837 and 1838, Mr. Daguerre attempted to sell, or interest subscribers in his "daguerreotype" invention, but then the director of the Paris Observatory (Francois Arago) stepped into the picture. Arago used his influence to have France purchase Mr. Daguerre's invention and make it available to the entire world. Within a year, manuals covering the daguerreotype process were published in eight languages, and in thirty-two separate editions. The process was a No-Negative one, but for nearly two decades it served as the worlds principal mode of photography. (see Morse for more information)

Talbot of England was not aware of Daguerre's activities. He experimented with photography and in 1835 he succeeded in securing images on plain writing paper, which he sensitized with silver chloride. Because he was so preoccupied with research in other scientific fields, he did not have the time to make a formal report of his discoveries before Daguerre did in Paris. Talbot called his new invention "Photogenic Drawings".


JOHN LOCKE (1792-1856)
Locke was the first American ever to exhibit photographs to the public. Locke was a professor of chemistry and pharmacy at the Medical College of Ohio. He exhibited specimens of photographs using Talbot's method ("photogenic drawings") in a bookstore in Ohio. He also produced the first photograph on paper (May 1839) in America.

SAMUEL F. B. MORSE (1791-1872)
The inventor of the telegraph. Professor Morse of New York who along with his brothers were publishers of the "New York Observer" was very interested in the "New Art". He met Daguerre in Paris March seventh and eighth of 1839, to discuss the new invention and wrote back to his brothers with great details about it. They published his letter in May 18, 1839 issue of the New York Observer:

" A few days ago I addressed a note to M. Daguerre requesting, as a stranger, the favor to see his results, and inviting him in turn to see my Telegraph. I was politely invited to see them under these circumstances, for he had determined not to show them again, until the Chambers had passed definitely on a proposition for the Government to purchase the secret of the discovery, and make it public.... I called on M. Daguerre, at his rooms in the Diorama, to see these admirable results. They are produced on a metallic surface, the principal piece about 7" by 5", and they resemble aquatint engravings, for they are in simple chiaro-oscuro, and not in colors.... No painting or engraving ever approached it....."

Morse established a good friendship with Mr. Daguerre and developed a great interest for the new art. Having been the first to provide American readers with a personal report on Daguerre's invention, Morse was among the first to take up its practice upon his return to New York. He had many great students such as Mathew Brady and Edward Anthony, who all later started very successful businesses. He also produced the first daguerreotype of still life ever taken in the United States. It was taken in the late summer of 1839 of the Unitarian Church on Broadway in New York City. The second daguerreotype was taken in September 27, 1839 by D.W. SEAGER of St. Paul's Church (the church is still here in New York city, at Broadway and Fulton St). News of Daguerre's invention was published in American as well as European newspapers in the first three months of 1839. Daguerre sent an agent by the name of Francois Gouraud, who came to New York in November 1839 to hold exhibits and lectures first in New York and then in Boston. Daguerre took out a patent both in France and England for the daguerreotype, before the French government purchased the rights to it. Daguerre did not patent the daguerreotype in America for some strange reason. Therefore, there were no restrictions on its practice or further development in the United States. The "New Art" of daguerreotyping spread all over Europe and the United States like fire. In the first year of photography, the average American thought the photographers did some type of magical hocus-pocus in the "dark room". They would often ask questions such as: "what do you do in there, do you say something over it?" New York, Boston and Philadelphia were the principal scenes of action during the first year of the daguerreotype.


EDWARD ANTHONY (1819-1888)
Anthony learned photography from Samuel F. B. Morse. In 1847 he gave up his practice to open up a photographic supplies business whose name E. & H. T. Anthony & Co., became world famous after the American Civil War. As soon as the wet plate colodian (negative) process became popular in the United States, Edward Anthony would rent negatives from prominent photographers such as Mathew Brady and would print and sell the photographs. Most of these photographs are CDV's and stereo cards and have his name or logo on them. He published a monthly catalog of "card photographs" of famous personalities that could be purchased by mail order. He had two photographic supply building which were adjacent to each other. Each building had four floors, 100' x 30' . It was a known fact that Edward Anthony had the world's largest photographic supply stores. One store was located at the corner of Elm & and Center Street in New York City. He had another very large store at the bottom of Broadway, and also in New Jersey. Over three hundred experienced workers were employed everyday in his three branches; they produced over 2016 frames per day. Their goods went all over the world, being regularly sold in London, Paris, Spain, Germany, Australia, China, Japan, the West Indies and they almost had an exclusive in South America.

Born in Scotland, Gardner made a living as a journalist and jeweler until he was hired by Mathew Brady. In January 1857, after failing to secure a job as a jeweler or journalist, Gardner went to the famous "Brady of Broadway" (Mathew Brady) seeking a job. This was the beginning of a life long devotion to photography.



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