The Daguerreian Society

From The Photographic Art-Journal
(New York) Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 1852) pg. 22.

From La Lumiere    

Heliography in New York

Translated from the French, by C. Doratt.

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
    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.    

(End of text. Please refer to our textnote regarding this text.)

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