April 27 In photographic History

Today Samuel Morse was born in 1791. Samuel Morse is best known for... MORSE CODE. What does that have to do with photographic history? He took the 1st photo in America.

Morse visited Paris and while there met with Louis Daguerre about his new photographic invention: Daguerreotypes.

Morse brought Daguerre's process back to America. Using Daguerre’s method, Morse photographed the Unitarian Congregational Church across the street from his studio.

1840 he wrote in his journal: ""Put the plate in the camera, 2 minutes before 3 o’clock, sun shining bright, but the objects were in the shadows mostly. The prevailing color was grey over all objects except the brick church, which was red with sunlight upon it, striking obliquely … Time required in the camera 16 minutes. Proof a good one for all the objects in shadow, light a little over-done."

He was a professor of literature at New York University and did another photographic 1st in America, he made the 1st photo studio at the University of New York.

I can't find any of his photos or that 1st photograph. Which is a lesson itself I suppose, just doing something for the 1st time doesn't always mean it's good or noteworthy. To me, I would love to see these but apparently, they are lost in the focus on his famous Morse code. But here is a photo of Morse from that time period.


Also born today was Gary Mark Smith, Smith is noted for his pioneering global range and his empathetic and literal style of photography sometimes captured in extremely hazardous circumstances.

April 27, 1815 saw the birth of photographer Solomon Nunes Carvalho, Jane Calvin (1938), Jack Welpott (1923-2007), Leroy G. Phelps (1892-1964), and Deborah Luster (1951).