What if the world will end within a year—what would you, as a lomographer, immortalize through photographs? In this installment of The Analogue Reader, I present to you an interesting book wherein photography pioneer Louis Daguerre seeks to answer this very question. Read on to find out more and share your own answers!
In his thought-provoking and highly gripping debut novel, Dominic Smith takes us back to the early days of photography in 1847 Paris. During this time, French artist and physicist Louis Daguerre had already been working with poisonous mercury vapors for a decade, using it to cure his daguerreotype images. The noxious fumes had already started to take their toll on the photography pioneer’s body, plaguing him with illness and delusions.
One of these crazed visions came to him while he was in a bathtub: the world is set to end in a year, and he must make haste to immortalize through photographs ten items, which he collated in a so-called “Doomsday List.” Among the items in this list is a portrait of Isobel Le Fournier, the woman he has always loved but hasn’t seen or spoken to in fifty years.
I will not spoil you with the rest of items in Daguerre’s list, but I have to say that if you love photography and you are interested in its roots, this book should be on top of your to-read novels. Everything is so compelling and eloquently written that, like how I felt about The Lady and the Unicorn, it’s difficult to simply dismiss it as a 300-something paged historical fiction.
Now, for the challenge: If you were in Daguerre’s place and you felt compelled to immortalize ten items through photographs before the world ends, which would they be? Go ahead and leave a comment below with your own Doomsday List, and like we always do, tag friends who you feel have some interesting answers!
Here in Lomography, we are all lovers of all things analogue, in various aspects and varying degrees. If you’re one of those who prefer reading the analogue way, you might want to check out the rest of the articles in The Analogue Reader series!