We’re winding down the last few days of December and we have yet to have any real snow in this part of New York where I live and work. I’ve rhapsodized here before about my particular affection for snow so it should come as no surprise that I am bit depressed by the lack of the white stuff at this point in the year. That being the case I went looking for some online and came across this image on one of my favorite sites, Luminous Lint, which features a spectacular array of fine art photos from all eras.
This particular one is an 1841 daguerrotype from Frenchman Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey that may be the eraliest known photographic image of snow. Photography was in its infancy then and nature photography had yet to blossom. The daguerrotype, named after the man, Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, who created the process which created these images, was the main form pf photography at the time. It was a very dangerous process that involved the heating of mercury which created extremely toxic vapors.
According to the site, there may be other images of snow that predate this but today I’m considering this the first. Besides I like the was the plate shows its spectrum of color at its edges and the image sort of emerges from it. It really feels like a moment from a time long ago has been ripped from the continuum and placed on a slide for us to examine.
And besides, it may be the only snow I see for the rest of this year.