daguerreotypes

daguerreotype:

noun | da·guerre·o·type | dəˈɡerəˌtīp

An early photographic process invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839 employing an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury vapor. The image is formed when the light-sensitive plate is exposed to light through a camera lens. A daguerreotype was a unique, direct positive image that could not produce copies.


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Daguerreotype portrait of Helene Biewend and her friend Emilie Fromke sewing in a garden probably somewhere in Germany, 1846. By Hermann Carl Eduard Biewend.

Source: National Gallery of Canada.

Daguerreotype of two young men - Unknown (American), ca. 1850

This portrait shows two young men in a tender embrace, their thighs entwined, sharing a suggestive moment before the camera. Are they lovers? Perhaps, but more likely this photograph is an example of the natural and unselfconscious intimacy and physical contact that men enjoyed in a pre-Freudian era.   

The Metropolitan Museum of Art