the winter garden photograph & the little girl.
Photographs are meant to capture moments in time that we will never get back but can always look back on. When a person reminiscences about a person, their life, or about a specific time in their life, one will usually pull out a photo album full of photographs of known and unknown memories to satisfy their nostalgic desire. The reason why photographs are simultaneously about death and resurrection is because that exact moment in the photo may no longer be alive, but just viewing it will immediately bring you back to the moment that photo was captured. Photos have an ability to retain memories that are precious and dear to us. In the article, the daughter mentions about how looking at her deceased mother’s old photos felt like she was “moving back in time with her”, she “rediscovered” her mother by making a connection from what she was familiar with and what she saw in the photo (Barthes, 69). The daughter explains how looking at the photos was another way of losing her mother again, but even so it was also at this very “moment that everything turned around and discovered her” (71). Despite the last fatigue photo of her mother being a clear reality of her death, it also served as a loving memory of who her mother was when she was alive; memory is resurrection.
Daguerreotypes were first brought up upon on January 7th 1839 by a French painter & printmaker named Jaques-Mande Daguerre who was inspired by the Camera Obscura. Each was a one of a kind photograph on a highly polished silver plated sheet of copper sensitized by iodine, exposed in the camera, and developed over mercury fumes. The process flourished quickly and by December, there were already artists capturing photos from balloons and people lining up to have their portraits taken. Scientist took on the process to take detailed shots of their samples and soon after explorers as well. By 1850s the daguerreotype process declined due to the introduction of photography on paper, which was not as precise of had the ability to make multiple copies of the same photo captured, something a daguerreotype was unable to do.
in loving memory-Batchen.
Daguerreotypes were often organized to look a certain way. A child’s head would be forced into a position by their parent’s hands to prevent wandering. Many daguerreotypes are taken in memory of a deceased loved one. The person may not be present in the photo however the way the daguerreotype is taken makes the absence of the person present one more. Family members are usually holding a daguerreotype within a daguerreotype of the deceased; this “answers to the need to include the virtual presence of those who are otherwise absent” (Batchen, 12). The case is also an important component to the daguerreotype. Batchen explains the case as being a “touchable entity” something that serves as part of the entire memory. He also mentions that there are different kinds of memory and many ways to remember the absent ones. There is the obvious photogenic type of memory that consists of exact recollection of past events and one that is not so much about appearance, but more of the act of remembering, which is what daguerreotypes are special for. Daguerreotypes have the ability to evoke nostalgia, a warm remembrance of the past. Included on the back of a daguerreotype case is sometimes a handwritten description, which again adds to the value of the daguerreotype; it no longer is just a photo, it is a photo of an important person you can look at, a case you can touch/ hold, and now a familiar voice to listen to through reading the text inscribed on back of the case. There has also been poems found hidden underneath an image in a daguerreotype. These last words reveal that the deceased never want to be forgotten even if they are no longer physically present in this world. It is a “plea to the future to please remember me” (Batchen, 48). With that being said, daguerreotypes are not really about remembering; they are instead dedicated to the fear of forgetting, or being forgotten” (47).
Later, daguerreotypes were not just framed or shown within another daguerreotype, but also used as the center piece in jewelry. Similar to the framed daguerreotypes, photo-jewelry carried the same emotional linger of the deceased and great memories of their existence. Many of the designers made the jewelry to not only hold photos and function as an accessory, but also have a special reason to why the photos were place where they were. An example would be a pendent with a photo of a married man and a woman side by side. This arrangement signifies their everlasting love and their desire to always be together. “Photogenic objects turn the body of their owners into an accessory” (Batchen, 35). In this form of memory and remembrance, the owners choose to have their passed ones out in the public, it “becomes an extension of the wearer, or perhaps it is we wearers who become prostheses to the body of photography”, as Batchen explains in his essay.
Aside from photography serving as a comfort object for the mourning ones, photography was also used for pleasant times to commemorate marriage. The printed certificates were often tintype or albumen photographs.
Throughout the years, daguerreotypes have proven to be the perfect way to remember the ones who have departed from this world. They serve as a timeline that takes you down memory lane whenever they are viewed. The feeling of nostalgia becomes present and the person is suddenly resurrected in your mind. Though the person isn’t really there, the memory of the person through viewing the daguerreotype is enough of a satisfaction—knowing they once existed in your life. Those memories stay permanent within the minds of their loved ones and are never forgotten.