Samuel Walker

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Samuel Leon Walker (1802–1874) was one of the earliest daguerreotype photographers in the United States and was widely regarded as one of the best photographers during the 1840s and 1850s. He lived and worked in Poughkeepsie, New York. Walker was born in 1802 at New Salem, Massachusetts, and enjoyed careers as a daguerreotypist and photographer, writer and spiritualist. There is some evidence to suggest Walker was an assistant to Samuel F. B. Morse in New York; he then had a studio in Albany before moving to Poughkeepsie by 1847. He seems to have stopped photographing between 1854 and the early 1860s when wet collodion photography began to supersede the daguerreotype and poor health limited his activities. By May 1864 Walker had returned to photography and was practicing the collodion process in his Photographic Institute. The only known collection of Walker’s work is held by George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and the twenty daguerreotypes there consist of portraits including studies of his own children which Sobieszek claims are ‘some of the most exciting images created by the daguerrean artist.’ His daguerreotypes of his daughters are reminiscent of the work of Lewis Carroll in their directness and latent sexuality. He died on 25 April 1874 aged 72 years when he was described as a man of great artistic taste with a love for his profession [1].