Hercules Florence, the isolated inventor of photography

January 12, 2008

Hercule Florence, self-portrait, c. 1875
source: http://www.mnemocine.com.br/fotografia/historia_foto.htm

“Antoine Hercule Romuald Florence (1804–March 27, 1879) was a French-Brazilian painter and inventor, known as the isolate inventor of photography in Brazil, three years before Daguerre (but six years after Nicéphore Niépce), using the matrix negative/positive.

According to Kossoy, who examined Florence’s notes, he referred to his process, in French, as photographie in 1834, at least four years before John Herschel coined the English word photography.” (from: Hercules Florence – Wikipedia article)

“The notion of simultaneous invention – that two or more people can develop the same concept at about the same time – was mentioned by Florence and by another of photography’s pioneer, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877)” observes M. W. Marien: “Simultaneous invention makes it difficult to construct a linear chronology of photography.” (Marien, Mary WarnerPhotography, A Cultural History , New York: 2002)

In the case of Florence, it brings into the panorama of the emergence of photography not only the solitary inventor, but a peripheral region, distant from the advanced centers of science and technology in the 19th century, in the margin of Modernity itself.

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