The French Daguerreotype in the Musée d'Orsay collections
As a counterpoint to the exhibition on the English calotype, the first photographic process on paper, developed by William Fox Talbot, this exhibition looks at the special aesthetic quality of the daguerreotype. Unlike the calotype, which introduced the principle of a negative, the daguerreotype produces one single photograph, without the capacity for duplication, on to a metal plate. The images are both positive and negative at once, and are distinguished by their sharpness of detail, and the mirror effect resulting from the type of support used.
Through the varied subjects in these photographs, the exhibition traces the development and rapid, if brief, proliferation of Daguerre's invention. It also shows the richness of the Musée d'Orsay's daguerreotype collection, which has continued to grow since 2000.