Hermann Carl Eduard Biewend was an important figure in the early years of photography in Germany. Trained as a chemist, he was Assay Master (warden) and Master of the Mint for the Bank of Hamburg from 1843 until 1876, when the bank was dissolved and he retired. Like many well-educated and prosperous individuals of the time, Biewend was also an amateur daguerreotypist. His first known daguerreotypes date from at least as early as 1846, just seven years after the process was first made public. Biewend’s oeuvre displayed a remarkable range. He was one of the few German daguerreotypists to photograph landscapes and architecture, as well as people. The value of these uncommon images was subsequently misunderstood, and many were destroyed.
Most of Biewend’s surviving images are portraits. They are characterized by a clarity of vision, as well as a technical precision that was honed through the laboratory duties of his job.