Video Podcast: Inventing Early Photography

“…soon the plate takes on a clouded appearance, and then gradually it clears and like a thing of life, stands forth the image in all the boldness that art and science can combine to give.”

“No one writes like that anymore.”

Indeed, the flowery prose of S.D. Humphrey’s 1858 American Handbook of the Daguerreotype isn’t seen much these days. Finding a daguerreotypist may prove just as difficult. This past April, Mike Robinson from Toronto’s Ryerson University visited the Museum of American History’s photographic collection. Taking a break from his research in the collection, Mike demonstrated his contemporary process for preparing light-sensitive plates and then actually using them in creating a daguerreotype portrait.

The most recent episode of the Lemelson Center’s Inventive Voices podcast series also features Museum of American History curator Shannon Perich discussing the combination of forces that led to advancements and innovations in the field of early photography. Be sure to check out the entire Inventive Voices podcast series on our website for more audio and video interviews!

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