Some of the most inspiring (and oldest) photography was done by the photography firm of Southworth & Hawes ( Albert Sands Southworth
(1811–1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes
(1808–1901). They were primary active between from 1843-1863 in Boston.
These guys really amaze me. I love the way they arrange their subjects. The sitters seem a lot more real then most of the Victorian photography I've seen before. They photographed some of the most famous people of the time including Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Daniel Webster. But the daguerreotypes that really stand out for me are the everyday people...the "unidentified" people.
|Unidentified Child, circa 1850|
|The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Family, 1849|
artist, even in
must go beyond discovery and the
knowlege of facts; he must create and
invent truths and produce new
developments of facts. "
|Death of Pain (first public administered Ether anesthesia)1847|
|Rollin Heber Neal|
|Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1857|
|Alice Mary Hawes, 1852|
to look and see the
difference under different lights in
the same faces. Learn to see the fine
points in every face, for the plainest
faces in the world are human faces,
belonging to human beings... "
S. Southworth, 1873
|Unidentified Girl with Ringlets, circa 1850's|
|Unidentified Woman, circa 1850|
|Unidentified Dead Child, Circa 1855|
the nice production of light and
which is the perfection of modelling,
the Daguerreotype will be found to
surpass the Artist's best efforts,
being capable of representing
independently, action, expression, and
character to a great extent; and in
some instances approaches very nearly,
if it does not equal these higher
branches, thus developing beauty in
grace of motion and in repose, which is
the first object and the supreme law of
|Two Women Posed with a Chair, ca. 1850 |
|Unidentified Woman, 1852|
Winchester Family Tomb, Mount Auburn Cemetery, circa 1853
|Unidentified Girl, 1850|
|Winter Portrait with Fur Coat and Gloves |
|Unidentified Child, 1850|
Of course this is only a tiny bit of work by Southwork & Hawes. You can find more in the book, "Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes. You can also see more Photographs in this flickr set from the George Eastman House.
I hope these daguerreotypes have inspired you as much as they inspire me.
Now, I'm off to work on a custom portrait...