Daguerreian Society

In July of 1852, the following editorial appeared in "The Photographic 
Art-Journal" Vol. 4, No. 1 (July 1852) pp. 62-63.  Under the section 
heading "Gossip," the text gives an overall philosophy of the journal:
   " . . .For ourselves we must give the preference to paper 
photographs, over the daguerreotype . . ."  Although there is wealth of 
information found in the PAJ regarding the daguerreotype (and much of 
that is yet to be "mined") yet there certainly is a bias for paper-
based photography discussion among its pages.
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SINCE we commenced the publication of this Journal, the art of 
photography has made rapid strides all over the world; not so much in 
the new discoveries made as in improvements of the old.  In France MM. 
Evrard, Le Gray, Renard, Mestral and others, have so improved the 
processes on paper that many have thrown entirely aside the metallic 
plate; so also in England, notwithstanding the shackles thrown around 
the art by Talbot's patents.
   In our own country few have attempted with any degree of success 
this branch, until the persevering efforts of Mr. Whipple of Boston, 
has won for him the praise of all who have seen his fine photographs.  
For ourselves we must give the preference to paper photographs, over 
the daguerreotype, although we have no doubt it will be many months, 
perhaps years, before the latter will be superceeded by the former, 
principally on account of the daguerreotype being much less difficult, 
and consequently cheaper.
   Those, however, who first introduce the paper process to the public 
in our large cities, will undoubtedly make money, for there are very 
few men of taste who would not prefer the beautifully bold, warm toned 
and mezzotint-like photograph, to the cold, semi-distinct and glaring 
   There is one great drawback to any decided improvement in the 
daguerrean art in this country, equally applicable to those who preach 
reform and improvement as to those who deride and scoff at it.  We have 
often spoken of it and we mean still oftener to speak of it, until we 
have succeeded in putting sufficient ambition into the minds of our 
artists to make farther comment unnecessary.  We mean that selfish, 
mean disposition of keeping every improvement made a secret.  What 
artist in this country has ever derived on cent advantage over his 
brother artist by such a course?
   We venture to say, not one.  In the whole course of our observation 
we can only point to such persons as objects of ridicule and suspicion.
   To sustain us in our assertions we have only to point out the 
liberal course of Mr. Hesler, of Galena, Ill., Whipple, of Boston, 
Davie, of Utica, Johnson and others of this country, and Claudet of 
London, as eminent examples of the success of those who make known 
their improvements to the public.  The former gentleman particularly 
has been most liberal in communicating his knowledge, and the 
consequence is an overflowing patronage.  By this liberal course to his 
fellow artists he has gained the entire confidence of the public, and 
his success in consequence is unprecedented at the west.  We know that 
while others in that region are merely doing what is called a paying 
business he is making a fortune.
   It is much to be regretted that there is so little sympathy or 
liberality among out American Daguerreotypists, but we look forward to 
the time when the sentiments now prevalent will take to themselves 
wings and flee away.  When that day arrives a new era will dawn upon 
the art in this country, and some advancement will be made.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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