Port of Veracruz, Mexico

Port of Veracruz, Mexico

Photograph

Louis Prélier

Maker
French, active Mexico, 1839–1840

Port of Veracruz, Mexico

December 1839
Daguerreotype
Image (whole plate): 6 1/2 × 8 7/16 in. (16.5 × 21.5 cm)
Gift of Eastman Kodak Company, ex-collection Gabriel Cromer
1976.0168.0141
Inscriptions Verso: Alphonse Giroux
TextOn December 3, 1839, less than four months after the French government announced Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre’s invention of photography, Mexico City engraver Louis Prélier returned from his native France with a new acquisition: a daguerreotype outfit. Eager to introduce the phenomenal new technology to Mexico, Prélier stayed in Veracruz in order to hold public demonstrations of the process before continuing on to the capital. The daguerreotypes he created are among the earliest made in the Western Hemisphere—all but the one displayed here are now lost. Despite Prélier’s efforts, which were enthusiastically reported in regional press, Mexicans would embrace photography only decades later, in the 1870s.
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