Untitled (Niagara Falls)

A work made of daguerreotype.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of daguerreotype.

Date:

c. 1853

Artist:

Attributed to Platt D. Babbitt
American, died 1879

About this artwork

Niagara Falls, like other popular tourist destinations in the 19th century, was once only accessible through travel. With the invention and proliferation of photography after 1839, however, visitors could take home the scenes they saw. To create a daguerreotype—a small picture on silver-plated copper, nicknamed a "mirror with a memory"—a photographer painstakingly polished the plate, sensitized it in a bath of chemicals, and exposed it to light for a few seconds to several minutes. The resulting image was an irreproducible original with an unrivaled degree of sharpness. Tourists visiting Niagara Falls would have bought souvenir images like this one, which was likely made by the popular daguerreotypist Platt D. Babbitt, who sold his plates from a pavilion at Prospect Point. In order to maintain his monopoly, Babbitt supposedly thwarted the efforts of his rivals by waving umbrellas in front of the falls when they tried to make exposures.

Currently Off View

Photography

Artist

Platt D. Babbitt

Title

Untitled (Niagara Falls)

Origin

United States

Date

1848–1858

Medium

Daguerreotype

Dimensions

13.4 x 18.6 cm

Credit Line

Gift of the Blum-Kovler Foundation

Reference Number

1970.222

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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