Early Photographic Method
The Frenchman Louis Daguerre announced the invention of the daguerreotype process in 1839. This was an early photographic method using a polished, silvered copper plate. The plate was photosensitized using iodine vapour and developed by exposing it to mercury vapour to produce mirrored positive images. The image was fixed in a saline solution and then rinsed in water. At the time, these images were far more detailed than those achieved using any previous method. Each daguerreotype is unique because the process does not make use of a negative (as contemporary methods do). Hence, it was not possible to make multiple copies.
Deteriorating daguerreotypes were collected and saved in a database as part of the Daguerrobase project and made accessible to the public throughout Europe. This was made possible by the European Commission's ICT-PSP programme. Picturae is a member of the consortium comprising sixteen organisations from eleven different countries. Consequently, Picturae will be the only private organisation working together with leading public institutions such as the Nederlands Fotomuseum, the Atelier de Restauration et de Conservation des Photographies de la Ville de Paris, and Museum Ludwig.
Part I of Excursions daguerriennes. Vues et monuments les plus remarquables du globe was first published in 1841. Today, the Daguerreobase project has the same objective – collecting all daguerreotypes in one place, although not in book form, but online. In doing so, knowledge about daguerreotypes will be conserved and made accessible to institutions, researchers, curators and other interested parties.
The Daguerreobase Project – Database + Website
As one of the Daguerreobase project's participants, Picturae will be creating the new international website, its collection management system and links to the Europeana cultural database. Members will be able to view, process and save daguerreotypes. They will also be able to create links to other records. The Daguerreobase project was officially launched on 01 August 2012 and will run for two years.
You can also visit an existing daguerreotype website that Picturae created for the Nederlands Fotomuseum.