Hippolyte Bayard

20.01.1801 – 14.05.1887 – the first photo exhibition

„The corpse of the man that you see overleaf is the one of Mister Bayard...The aca-demy, the king and all those who saw this pictures were in deep admiration as you have veneration for them in this moment, in spite of the fact that he himself thougt of them as to be deficient. This brought a lot of honour but not a single cent to him. The government, that gave far too much to Mister Daguerre, declared that they can do nothing for Mister Bayard. So this unfortunate man had drowned himself. H.B., 18th of October 1840.“

Bayard wrote this letter from the beyond upon the revese of his self-portrait „Auto-portrait en noyé“ on which he himself posed as water corpse. Fortunately it is rea-lly just an enactment that made Bayard the first photo-faker in history. But he could perform this photograph by his own proceeding because he is an inventor of photography, too. Independent of all others he was successful in fixing the pictures of the camera obscura just by action of light.

Bayard's merit as inventor was not honored at all but at least his talent as photographer. Further on he used the Daguerreotype and Calotype (Talbotype). With this he took first several pictu-res of architecture in Paris..

In 1851 he became founding member of the Société Héliographi-que, today's Société Francaise de Photographie (SFP). In the same year he got the task to take pictures of significant buil-dings all over France from the Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, together with four other photographers.

His procedure of photography is based upon the bleaching of a silver chloride-layer - that was blackend before in bright light - while being exposed in the camera obscura.

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He started his trials probably already in 1830 and told about this to Charles Chevalier – just the optician who delivered lenses to Nièpce and Daguerre, too. At least since 1837 he was successful in taking photographic pictures. So it is very understandable that he con-tacted Francois Arago after Arago's announcement of the publication of Daguerre's pro-ceeding on the 7th of January 1839 to suggest his own invention. But Arago was so invol-ved and concentrated to the technique of Daguerre that he couldn't turn towards another inventor of photography.

Bayard led a rather secluded life as tax officer and has never been in the public eye, as Daguerre was since many years, just got a small amount as a support money, his inven-tion remained unappreciated. It is a process to get positive pictures that are unique items like the Daguerreotypes. Because they are made on paper these pictures are not so subtle and detailed as the Daguerreotypes. On the 24th of June 1839 – two month afore the release of the Dagerrerian process – he arranged the world's first photo exhibition at the Salle des Commissaires-prisseurs in Paris. It was a benefit performance in favor of earthquake victims in a french colony. Displayed were 30 paper photographies made by his proceeding.

german text-version

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