The Daguerreian Society


During this month (January), the following article appeared in "The 
Photographic Art-Journal" (New York; Vol 3, No. 1; January 1852; p.22):
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                                                      From La Lumiere
                     HELIOGRAPHY IN NEW YORK
                             -------
              Translated for the French, by C. Doratt.
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THE art of Heliography has become a perfect "rage" in the United States.  
That nation among nations, full of youth, vigor, and ambition, has no 
intention of being secondary to the old world, in civilization and art.  
She loves novelty, and is surely not in the wrong.  She is most eager in 
the race of great discoveries and useful invention.  There is therefore 
nothing strange in her passionate admiration of Photography.  Of this 
decided love of art, I will relate an instance, to which I was lately a 
witness.  An American, principal editor of one of the leading 
periodicals of Boston, being on a visit to Paris, to admire the wonders 
of our capital, before all other objects, desired to inspect the "Album" 
of the Heliographic Society, and I must say, "en passant," that he found 
the contents superior to anything of the kind he had seen in his own 
country.  Yet the Art is progressing rapidly in the New World, and the 
number of its artists are daily increasing.
   In the month of January appeared a Journal devoted to Photography, 
entitled the Photographic Art-Journal, as a monthly publication, which 
Journal has much success.
   There are at present in New York 71 "ateliers" devoted exclusively to 
the Daguerrean Art, independant of the manufactories and stores, where 
are to be found the chemicals, plates, and apparatus of all description 
required in the Art.  To these "ateliers" are attached, including 
proprietor, operators, and those whom they employ, one hundred and 
twenty-seven men, eleven women, and forty-six children.  The amount of 
rent paid by these artists is $25,550, or 137,970 francs.  The average 
salary paid, at a moderate computation is $10 per week for men, 
amounting to $1,270,00, or 6,858 francs, being for the one hundred and 
twenty-seven operators, $66,040,00 or 357,616 francs per year.  The 
salary of the eleven women, say $5,00 each, or 27 francs, amounting to 
$2,860,00, or 15,444 francs.  The children, to the number of forty-six, 
at $1,00 a week each, $2,392,00, or 12,916 francs 50 cent per year.  The 
annual sum therefore, necessary to cover these expenses, is $96,842,00, 
or 522,946 francs 50 sous.
   In this amount we do not include the expense of material employed by 
the artists, as even an approximation cannot even be hazarded.
   These details sufficiently show, that Photography has become an art 
of much importance in that city of commerce and industry.
   We shall add a few remarks relative to the characteristic habits of 
American Photographers.
   Their rooms are most elegantly furnished, perfect palaces, worthy of 
comparison with the enchanted dwellings of Eastern fabulous heroes.  
Marble, carved in columns, or animated by the chisel of the sculptor, 
sumptuous frames enclosing costly paintings, the feet press without 
noise the softest carpets; gilded cages with birds from every clime, 
warbling amidst exotics of the rarest kind, which diffuse their perfume 
and expand their flowers under the softened light of the sun.  This is 
the American studio.  The visitor under this charming influence forgets 
his cares, his features brighten and soon assume an expression of calm 
contentment.  The Merchant, the Physician, the Lawyer, and even the 
restless Politician, forget in this abode the turmoil of business.  
Surrounded thus, how is it possible to hesitate at the price of a 
portrait?
                                                                           
Earnest Lacan.
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Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       
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jan1-96


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