go to HOME


  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

During the month of October in the year 1926, the following commentary, written by Edward Weston, appeared as the article, "Los Daguerreotipos" in "Forma," 1:1 (October 1926), page 7: - - - - - - - - - - - - - They are documents, "family memories", nothing more. They were made in the days before "artistic photographs," and "light effects," and theatrical "posing." The photographers of daguerreotypes had not yet been classified "artists" sporting the classic floating tie and the rumpled and dirty hair. Fortunately the complicated work of silvering the sheets kept him busy. He was an artisan who dedicated himself to his work with simplicity and without ambiguities, without finding himself inhibited by the ambitions of his art. Because the technique of retouching was unknown, there was no way to make concessions to human vanity--the daguerreotypes were not lies. Although rigid, those photographs of our ancestors have a rigid dignity. Since the exposures lasted for minutes, they did not allow for calculated poses. In this manner we have inherited today the first epoch of photography, the most genuine, the most honest expression. An image chemically pure, strong and honest, and at the same time refined: the daguerreotype. Cited from "Edward Weston on Photography" Edit. Peter C. Bunnell (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books, 1983) page. 44. Although I won't dispute Mr. Weston's conclusion, I'd hardly grant him the title of an accurate historian. -- G. Ewer -------------------------------------------------------------- 10-01-97

Return to: DagNews