Daguerreotypes: Portrait Variations

Apart from studio portraiture, nearly every facet of American society between 1840 and 1860 was recorded in the daguerreotype: famous people and events, the changing nature of fashion, memorial and post-mortem images and other culturally significant ways in which people wished to be identified and perceived.

In occupational portraiture in particular, identification of “self” in regard to trade or profession was especially important. The individual was typically shown in the dress indicative of the profession, displaying his/her tools of the trade. Photography also allowed surprisingly candid and relatively spontaneous images to be made, unlike any seen before.

Unknown,
Clown, ca. 1850-1855
2005.27.90

Unknown,
Gold Miners with Sluice, ca. 1850
2005.27.116

Unknown,
Cat by Window, ca. 1850
2005.27.77

Unknown,
Baby with Hiding Mother, ca. 1855
2005.27.56

Unknown,
Tightrope Walker, ca. 1855
2005.37.15

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