The impact the daguerreotype had on the middle class cannot be overstated. Before the nineteenth century only the wealthy had the means to commemorate their likeness. The daguerreotype was the great equalizer. For the first time, everyday people could now make their own visual history. In our age of smart phones, social media and selfies, it is difficult to imagine what it must have been like to have an image of oneself, one’s family, dog, vacation.
- Can you imagine being able to have your very first portrait taken? What are your thoughts and opinions on that?
- Spend some time looking at daguerreotypes and choose an image that is fascinating to you and copy and paste it into your post. What do you think the image says about the person in it? Would you have liked to know them? Do you think they are different than you? What would you imagine their interests, lives etc. would be like?
- We take so many pictures of ourselves for everyone to see in an instant. What is your favorite picture of yourself and why? Where are you and what are you doing wearing, etc. Is it difficult to choose just one? If possible include it in the discussion.
- Julia Margaret Cameron famously made portraits that were slightly out of focus. Did her approach help or hinder portraiture?
- Also – if you were to have a carte-de-visite created for yourself what would it look like, what would you be wearing, what type of clothing, furniture and props would you include?