Edgar Allan Poe on Photography

On this day in 1849 the writer, poet and romanticist Edgar Allan Poe passed away, leaving behind an America that would be forever be changed in the wake of his writings. In one of his most famous short essays ‘The Daguerreotype’ Poe offers a beautiful insight into how the world felt during the dawn of photography.


One particular extract from the article resonates as loudly today as it did back in 1840, especially when considering the new dawn of digital photography and limitation of the pixel.

If we examine a work of ordinary art, by means of a powerful microscope, all traces of resemblance to nature will disappear – but the closest scrutiny of the photogenic drawing discloses only a more absolute truth, a more perfect identity of aspect with the thing represented. The variations of shade, and the gradations of both linear and aerial perspective are those of truth itself in the supremeness of its perfection.

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