Boulevard du Temple, Paris, 1838


Today, a small Dabbler tribute to the endurance of Paris. Nige celebrates an extraordinary photograph…

The Parisian street scene above dates from 1838, and was captured by Louis Daguerre, who was born this week (18 November) in 1787.

Daguerre, who achieved worldwide fame with his Daguerrotype process, began his photographic researches with Nicephore Niepce, creator of the world’s first heliograph, and continued to pursue them, with increasing success, after Niepce’s sudden death in 1833.

In the image above, the Boulevard du Temple seems eerily deserted, but this is the result of the ten-minute-plus exposure required by Daguerre’s process at this time. Passing traffic and pedestrians would not have been in place long enough to register. Only the man having his shoes shined at lower left, and the chap doing the shining, were still long enough, and now they live on, the first unwittingly photographed people in history, caught on a sunny afternoon in Paris in 1838.

‘I have seized the light!’ cried Daguerre, in a moment of excitement. ‘I have arrested its flight!’

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About Author Profile: Nige

Cravat-Wearer of the Year Nige, who, like Mr Kenneth Horne, prefers to remain anonymous, is a founder blogger of The Dabbler and has been a co-blogger on the Bryan Appleyard Thought Experiments blog. He is the sole blogger on Nigeness, and (for now) a wholly owned subsidiary of NigeCorp. His principal aim is to share various of life's pleasures.

2 thoughts on “Boulevard du Temple, Paris, 1838

    November 20, 2015 at 17:18

    The imagination is working overtime, Nige. Goethe died a mere six years before the photograph was taken, Beethoven eleven years before, kind of updates history. Both Goethe’s writing and Beethoven’s music will still be around, long after the dolly dimple Islamists have lit their blue touch paper and spread themselves evenly but thinly around.

    November 20, 2015 at 20:54

    Let’s hope so Malty.
    Those early photographs of London have the same effect – still (more or less) the Georgian city! What if photography had been invented a couple of centuries earlier? Or sound recording…

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