L´Atelier de l´artist (see below), made by Louis Daguerre in 1837, is generally regarded as the first daguerreotype ever produced.

L´Atelier de l´artist, 1837

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Robert Cornelius, 1839

This image is one of the world's first photographic self portraits. It was taken by Dutch migrant, Robert Cornelius, in 1839 outside his family business in Philadelphia, USA. The back of the daguerreotype reads: "The first light picture ever taken".

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The Louvre, 1839

The Louvre, taken in 1839, is of a street that appears empty except for the shoe-shiner and his customer in the foreground. Because of the long exposure, moving objects were not "in place" long enough to be recorded.

Camera exposure times were very long — often over 20 minutes, even in bright sunlight — making portraiture difficult. When taking a studio portrait, people were "braced", their pose being held with the assistance of adjustable head rests, clamps and a posing stand.

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Although the daguerreotype is regarded as the first commercially successful form of photography, it was not without its disadvantages: the resulting image was easily marked and had to be protected under glass, and more importantly, it was a "positive" that could not be duplicated.