Possibly The First Dance Photograph Ever Made


Unknown Dancer by an anonymous American daguerreotypist, c.1849. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

William A. Ewing about the image (in Ewing 1987: The Fugitive Gesture):

Even straightforward daguerroeotype portraits of dancers are extremely rare. Neither the Paris Opéra nor Dance Collection of the New York Public Library has a single example in their immense holdings. It was astonishing to find, therefore, in the archives at George Eastman House, in Rochester, New York, not only a daguerreotype of a dancer (unfortunately unidentified), but a depiction of a simple step. Even though the exposure time must have been a minute or even longer, the image has undeniable vitality and none of the wooden quality we have learned to expect as the nineteenth-century norm. Surprisingly, what may be the earliest known photograph of the dance is a delight to the eye. Unfortunately, we cannot acknowledge its creator, who remains anonymous.” (p.15)

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One response to “Possibly The First Dance Photograph Ever Made

  1. Pingback: Danseur Ignoble: The Search (This. Is. Looooooooong.) | my beautiful machine / danseur ignoble

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