Collection Theme

Digital to Daguerreotype

The 2009 exhibition Digital to Daguerreotype: Photographs of People illustrated an exceptional range of print practices from the past 160 years, including celebrated images by masters in the medium of photography.

Even though most photographs have been of people since the beginning of the medium in 1839, the process of making a photographic portrait has changed considerably. When the daguerreotype process was announced in 1839, it was an overnight sensation because normal people could have a likeness made of themselves or their loved ones. The daguerreotype was replaced by the tintype, the ambrotype, the cyanotype, and later by color prints. Since 2000, photography has been undergoing a quiet revolution, as digital camera transform how images are taken, shared, and reproduced. At the same time, contemporary photographers have looked to older techniques as sources of inspiration. A highlight of this rich selection from the collection is a daguerreotype of the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009.