Figures and Portraits

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Louis Adolphe Humbert de Molard (1800-1874)
 Portrait de Louis Dodier, la joue appuyée sur la main [Louis Dodier, cheek on hand]
 Circa 1845
 Daguerreotype
 H. 8.5; 7 cm
 Paris, Musée d'Orsay
Louis Adolphe Humbert de MolardLouis Dodier© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
Daguerre's invention immediately became extremely popular among the middle classes who were keen to have their portraits made, whether as paintings or daguerreotypes. Studios sprang up in the city while travelling operators practised in villages, fairs and tourist spots.


David Octavius Hill
 (1802-1870)
 Robert Adamson
 (1821-1848)
 Willie Liston redding the line dit aussi Willie Liston, pêcheur de Newhaven, préparant son hameçon [Willie Liston redding the line, also called Willie Liston, Newhaven fisherman, redding the line]
 Taken in 1843
 Salted paper print from a paper negative, talbotype
 H. 19.8; W. 14 cm
 Paris, Musée d'Orsay
David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson Willie Liston redding the line© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
The use of the daguerreotype, a one-off technique which could not be reproduced except through drawing and engraving, meant that the circulation of these portraits was limited to family and friends. In the early 1840s, the invention of Fox Talbot's negative/positive process enabled David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson to make and circulate remarkable images of people from all ranks of the Edinburgh society, the establishment, artists and fishermen. But it was only ten years later that photographic portraiture reached its peak, with the invention of new techniques that shortened exposure time.

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