Developing the Daguerreotype
Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre was regularly using a camera obscura in painting, and he was always curious on how to freeze an image. In 1829 he partnered with another chemist, Nicephore Niepce, who had produced the very first permanent photograph but their experiment abruptly ended with the death of Niepce in 1833.
Two years after the death of his partner, however, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre made an accidental discovery. He found a latent image developed after putting an uncovered plate in his cupboard. He concluded that it was the result of mercury vapor coming from a damaged thermometer. His discovery reduced the exposure time of a latent image developing to as short as 30 minutes.
However it took Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre another two years, or in 1837 to fix the process which he called as the daguerreotype. The French Government then supported his invention, buying the rights to Daguerre’s process.
Daguerreotype images taken by Sergei Levitsky, a famous photographer from Russia while touring Caucasus were displayed in an exhibit at the Paris Exposition in 1843. The images were used to advertise the lenses of French optician Chevalier. The use of Chevalier lens by Levitsky furthered the focusing ability of the camera as it utilized a couple of cemented, dual lenses which reduced the required time in capturing images for landscape and portraiture photography. The Daguerreotype images were given the gold medal in the said Exposition, the first time a photograph was given a prize of such distinction.