Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (18 November 1787 – 10 July 1851) was a French artist and photographer, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography. He became known as one of the fathers of photography. Though he is most famous for his contributions to photography, he was also an accomplished painter and a developer of the diorama theatre.
Louis Daguerre was born 18 November 1787 in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, France and attended public school in Orléans before moving to Paris around 1803. In 1808, he appears in the official records of the painting studio of the Opéra, where he held various posts through 1816, when he was named the chief decorator of the Ambigu-Comique theater. He returned briefly to the Opera studio as co-chief painter with Pierre-Luc Ciceri from 1820–22. Daguerre also exhibited five paintings in the official Parisian Salon, was among the first French artists to experiment with lithography, and was the entre- preneur of the popular spectacle known as the Diorama, which opened in Paris in 1822. On 14 December 1829, Daguerre formed a company with Nicéphore Niépce in order to exploit Niépce’s invention of heliography, and Daguerre’s improvements to the camera obscura. After Niépce’s death (5 July 1833), Daguerre signed a new contract on 9 May 1835 with Niépce’s son, Isidore. The new contract changed the name of the partnership from “Niépce-Daguerre” to “Daguerre and Isidore Niépce,” in light of Daguerre’s recognition of the chemical bases of the daguerreotype, iodine and mercury. A final contract was signed on 13 June 1837, naming Daguerre as the sole inventor of the new process, which was announced by the politician and scientist, François Arago, on 7 January 1839. Arago formally divulged the process to a joint meeting of the Académie des Sciences and Académie des beaux-arts on 19 August 1839, after the purchase of the process by the French government. In 1840, Daguerre retired to Bry-sur-Marne, where he painted his last diorama for the church of St. Gervais-St. Protais in 1842 and died on 10 July 1851 .