November 18 would have been the 224th birthday of French artist Louis Daguerre, best known for his invention of the daguerreotype style of photography. Google has marked the occasion with an illustrated "doodle" in place of the company's homepage logo.
Google's doodle is fashioned after iconic daguerreotype portraits of Daguerre's day. The picture features members of a family, sporting Nineteenth Century attire, posing for a portrait. In place of each family member's face is a letter of Google's logo.
Born in 1787, painter Louis Daguerre made his indelible mark on the art world in 1839, when he debuted his method of using chemical processes to capture real-world images on pieces of copper.
Viewable below, a daguerreotype featuring Abraham Lincoln in 1846 or 1847, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Malcolm Daniel, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's photography department, explains how Daguerre created his photos:
Each daguerreotype is a remarkably detailed, one-of-a-kind photographic image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper, sensitized with iodine vapors, exposed in a large box camera, developed in mercury fumes, and stabilized (or fixed) with salt water or "hypo" (sodium thiosulphate).
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Daguerre's subjects had to remain absolutely still for several minutes during the exposure process. While daguerreotypes required much shorter exposure times than previous methods of photography, sitting absolutely still for many minutes wasn't ideal for human subjects. "If a subject was to move during the process, they would appear like a blurry ghost, or perhaps disappear from the frame altogether," writes the CS Monitor. "This is why, in the early days, Daguerre's landscapes did not contain any people. The process took too long for most people."
But, Daniel also notes, the artist guarded his secrets carefully. "Although Daguerre was required to reveal, demonstrate, and publish detailed instructions for the process, he wisely retained the patent on the equipment necessary to practice the new art," writes Daniel.
You can view the Google doodle on November 18 at Google.com, or check it out below.
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more