LA – Analyzing a 19th Century Photograph

“Boulevard du Temple”, taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris

I chose this photo because I found it interesting that, if taken today, you would be able to see the moving vehicles in traffic and the people on the street. The only people visible are the two that were still enough to be able to be caught on print.

The technical quality of the image both hinders and helps the image. Because it is old we expect it to look a certain way and it fascinates us because of that fact. Personally I can’t watch old movies because of the quality. It doesn’t matter how good the story is. The only old movie I have enjoyed is “Sound of Music” and that’s not even that old.

However, looking at this photograph it tells a story¬†because it is old. It wouldn’t work well to show off Paris, but to show the limitations they had before when taking photos and how far technology has come it works well. It also amazes me at how much they could actually accomplish with the limitations they had.

Looking away from the fact that it is old and only watching the photo is gives me an eerie feel. It almost looks like a post apocalyptic image. The streets are empty and the houses look dark, trashed and empty.

1280px-Boulevard_du_Temple_by_Daguerre_(unmirrored) 2

Here’s a cropped version of the photo. Removing the houses on the left makes the city, at least to me, look a bit more alive. It also make me focus more on the road and it inspires a sense of journey. When more of the sky was visible I focused more on the skyline and the houses but having removed it it also puts more focus on the road.

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