mulattoes captured

Not like this:

But like this:

1850 portrait of a mulatto woman

J.P. Ball quarter plate daguerreotype of mulattoes

Sixth Plate Daguerreotype Portrait of A Young Mulatto WomanA fine daguerreotype portrait of a young, well-dressed mulatto woman, with the letters W and MB etched on plate’s verse

Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants,

*Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants*

Cased Ninth Plate Daguerreotype of a Mulatto, fine half-length portrait of a 20-something young, mixed race gentleman, Negroid and Caucasian, in typical merchant sailors outfit of the period.

The Daguerreotype was the first successful photographic process, the discovery being announced on 7 January 1839. The process consisted of

  • exposing copper plates to iodine, the fumes forming light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be used within an hour.
  • exposing to light – between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon the light available.
  • developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees Centigrade. This caused the mercury to amalgamate with the silver.
  • fixing the image in a warm solution of common salt (later sodium sulphite was used.)
  • rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.

I absolutely love these!  I fully intend to collect them one day when I can afford it.  There seems to me to be so much more to a daguerreotype than a photograph.  They seem haunted to me.  Like the image and the moment was so thoroughly captured that I’m really looking at something/someone frozen in time.  Haunted.

On another note, I get some sort of satisfaction from looking at these and reading the descriptions.  Proof that “we” exist and were once recognized.

*or brothers….(re: white children & their mulatto servants above)*