One of the best-known likenesses of Poe, this daguerreotype measures only three inches in height, so visitors to the Poe Museum must come very close to get a good look at the photograph. When viewed from the wrong angle, the plate looks blank because the reflective silver surface must be seen from the correct angle for the image to appear. This is a hallmark of the daguerreotype, an early kind of photograph invented by Louis Daguerre in 1839. Rather than printing the photographs on paper, like a modern photograph, the daguerreotype exposed a silver-plated piece of copper to light, and the image was burned directly onto the plate without the use of a negative. Poe was fascinated with the new invention of photography and sat for at least eight daguerreotypes between 1842 and his death in 1849.
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