Camera Obscura

First daguerreotype portraits (1841-1851)


Among the 600 000 remarkable photographs that are preserved in the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, there is a great number of daguerreotypes, many of which have yet to be published. This catalogue provides an opportunity to discover them, and to collate some of the oldest known photographs that show non-Europeans. Camera Obscura plays with contrasting formats, colors and techniques – daguerreotypes offer a fugitive image that is perceived through its reflection.

Without giving way to the temptation to constitute a representative ‘sample’ of the collection, this catalogue seeks to reflect on and introduce it.

It combines a selection of 30 lifesize daguerreotype reproductions, accompanied by a text by Christine Barthe, who commissioned the exhibition, concerning the history of the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac’s collection. It also includes a text by Jérôme Monnier on the subject of daguerreotypes.

This work was published as part of the Photoquai 2007 biennial.


64 pages • 24 x 34 cm • 8 €
Co-published by musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac / Nicolas Chaudun 2007