b. 1801, d. 1887
A little perspective before we begin: My homeboy Hippolyte here was born before photography was even invented. So we’re kickin’ it old school for today’s PotD.
Hippolyte did something cool. You see, my homeboy Hippolyte created the first ever fictional image, and the reason why he did it is super metal. Or it was the most creative photographic tantrum in early photography history. Whichever.
If you know anything about photography history, you know about Daguerre, but in case you don’t I’ll give you an explanation as to why this guy is important: he was the first person recognized for “inventing” photography. What that means is the dude got his idea of printing positive images on treated metal surfaces (think mirror,) patented first. Now, Hippolyte also had an idea for printing images, and that was a positive image on paper. But, no one cared. The recognition for inventing photography was given to Daguerre, and Hippolyte was left in the dark.
No one cared.
So he made a self portrait of himself looking like death warmed over, calling his picture “The Drowned Man.” Nothing says “YO LOOK AT ME I DID A THING TOO,” like creating an entire genre of photography and taking a selfie as a dead man, circa 1840.
There are some interpretations to his infamous image, like how the hat on the left is symbolic of the sun or whatever, but I’ll leave it to you, since most of his images are up to interpretation. Why ruin the fun? He’d want you to have fun– doesn’t he seem like a fun guy at parties?
And that’s it for my homeboy Hippolyte Bayard. The next photographer of the day is one of my favorite ladies, Julia Margaret Cameron. Keep an eye out!