Posted 2 years ago
This was one of the first daguerreotypes I added to my very small collection of early photography, and perhaps the one which encouraged me to find more. The sixth-plate photograph, enclosed in a leather-bound wooden case and matted in a textured brass frame, is of an unidentified young man seated before the camera of Charles Evans, a daguerreotypist located at 380 Market Street, Philadelphia between 1848 to 1854. With his patent leather engineer's hat and boldly patterned waistcoat, this young man was clearly familiar with the fashions of his age - not interested in the beaver-skin hats and the formal clothing which were usually worn for these portraits. Developed on a silver-coated copper plate and polished to a highly reflective finish, the photographic process gives this image a three-dimensional quality and an almost palpable sense of liveliness. It has several condition issues - most noticeable, a white film under the glass plate protecting the photograph itself - but still has an intense clarity and strong contrast.