, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 639–643 | Cite as

Celebrating photography’s two fathers

Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport: Capturing the light: A true story of genius, rivalry and the birth of photography. London: Macmillan, 2013, xiv+306pp, £20 HB
  • Naomi Pasachoff
Book Review

In early 1839, two very different geniuses, one French and one English, told the world about their discoveries of two different ways of creating permanent photographic images. Anticipating the 2014 celebration of the 175th anniversary of those events, Capturing the Lightcomes as a welcome gift recognizing the birth of photography. More than a rich, if condensed, dual biography of Louis Daguerre (1787–1851) and Henry Talbot (1800–1877), the book is a clear and fascinating account of the history of photography from its earliest roots in the camera obscura—essentially a wooden box with a lens on one end and, at the other, a piece of ground glass on which to focus an image. From at least the sixteenth century, artists, including Leonardo, Velasquez, and Vermeer, had used the camera obscura to create templates for their paintings. From the eighteenth century on, not only artists but also scientists and entrepreneurs were in search of a method to use chemicals to permanently record the...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Williams CollegeWilliamstownUSA

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