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Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 11/18/2011

LOUIS DAGUERRE GOOGLE DOODLE: Artful logo honors the French inventor who revolutionized photography


Today, Louis Daguerre is ready for his close-up.

Google is celebrating the 19th-century French inventor with a family-portrait “Doodle”on its search home-page, as five photo subjects (and a lamp) literally sit in for the logo. Friday marks the 224th anniversary of Daguerre’s birth.

Daguerre is the man behind — and in front of — the daguerreotype, which in 1839 became the world’s first commercially successful photographic process. His revolution swept France and soon the world like a fad, yet remained popular through midcentury.

Google’s Doodle captures a touch of the artful eerieness of the daguerreotype, which lets camera images be reproduced permanently on silver-coated copper plates.

“The Daguerreotype image always feels as if it’s somewhere beneath the surface of the photograph, floating in the ether, and a bit fragile compared with the infinite reproducibility of the modern image, which always feels like it could be scraped off the paper,” Post culture critic Philip Kennicott tells Comic Riffs.

Many famous people of the era sat for daguerreotype portraits — and sitting still was the operative phrase, as the subject would have to remain motionless for minutes at a time. Among the most notable subjects were President Abraham Lincoln and his campaign rival, Sen. Stephen Dougas, journalist Horace Greeley and suffragette Lucy Stone.

The Library of Congress has more than 725 photographs in its daguerreotype collection that were taken between 1839 and 1864; most are by the famed Mathew Brady.

More Google Doodles:


Marie Curie Google Doodle

Jim Henson Doodle

“Gumby Doodle”



. (Louis Daguerre Doodle / courtesy of Google)


Born in France in 1787, Louis Jacques-Mandé Daguerre studied painting, architecture and stage design; a lover of scenic illusion, he is credited with developing the diorama.

Daguerre teamed with Nicéphore Niépce, who was working processes for permanent photographs. After Niepce's death in 1833, Daguerre continued the work.

Daguerre hit upon exposing silvered copper plates to iodine, light and mercury vapor.

The French physicist died in Bry-sur-Marne, France, in 1851, while his daguerreotype process was still highly popular.

Happy birthday, Monsieur Daguerre, as we smile for your camera.

The magic of your revolution has remained firmly in view.







By  |  12:01 AM ET, 11/18/2011

Tags:  google doodles, louis daguerre

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