Daguerreian Society

On this day (June 22) in the year 1871, M. P. Simons penned the 
following account which appeared in "Anthony's Photographic Bulletin" 
(Vol. 2, No. 6) June 1871, page 170:
- - - - - - - - - - -

          An Exquisite Picture.

  In the early days of daguerreotyping, when our chief--I might say 
only--ambition was to get a picture without those dull, black shadows 
that, like some genius of a Rembrandt, ever haunted our first dark 
dawnings in the art, when artistical and picturesque effects gave us 
but little, if any concern, I had the pleasure of daguerreotyping one 
of the most charming pictures of an infant I have ever seen.  The 
mother of the wee subject, like most mothers, wanted her darling taken 
alone and full-length--always, as is well known, a most trying task, 
and this time particularly so; for, at every effort I made to perform 
it, I was opposed by my little sitter to the full extent of his tiny 
lungs; and, although tiny, to such an extent that I was about giving it 
up as a thing impossible to accomplish, when a large Newfoundland dog 
belonging to the family, who had been all this time anxiously watching 
the mysterious operation, now thinking that his young master was being 
rather roughly dealt with, stepped proudly up to his side, and, with an 
air of defiance, stood for a moment looking me full in the face, and 
then gently nestled his head in the child's lap.  This acted like magic 
upon his fair companion, who instantly changed his countenance from 
fear and distress to that of conscious security; and, throwing his fat, 
dimpled arm around his noble protector's neck, remained perfectly quiet 
and composed, seeming to say--if smiles say anything--"Touch me now, if 
you dare!"  What a picture was this, so natural and so perfectly 
beautiful!  I could not think of letting it pass away, like a morning's 
dream, without trying to catch its shadow.  Everything now was 
favorable; all in the room were still--all, indeed, seemed spell-bound.  
I was afraid to stir, lest I might break the charm and spoil this 
beautiful picture.  My plate had grown sensitive by standing.  With 
breathless silence I drew the shield, and in an instant was fixed upon 
silver a picture worthy of being wrought in gold.
                                               M. P. SIMONS.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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