Artworks and Artists
Hermann and Mathilde (née Biewend) Koch and Children (Including Robert Koch) with Helene Biewend and Children at Clausthal

Hermann and Mathilde (née Biewend) Koch and Children (Including Robert Koch) with Helene Biewend and Children at Clausthal,
14 June 1854
Biewend, Hermann Carl Eduard
daguerreotype
8 x 10.6 cm quarter-plate; image: 7.3 x 9.8 cm

Theme:

When the daguerreotype process was announced to the public in 1839, the exposure times were between 20 and 30 minutes. This made portraiture a challenge. Within a year, enthusiastic experimentation led to technical improvements, reducing the exposure times to about two minutes. They soon fell to half a minute. Daguerreotype portrait studios opened around the world, in response to the public’s desire for likenesses of themselves and loved ones. This image was made towards the end of the daguerreotype’s peak period. While it belongs to the daguerreotype portrait tradition, it is not a commercial studio portrait. The photographer placed his family out-of-doors, at his sister’s home. Outdoor daguerreotype portraits are unusual.