Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The 'Annie' Daguerreotype of Poe

Unknown maker, American, daguerreotypist; Edgar Allan Poe, late May - early June 1849, Daguerreotype; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
There are two reasons for celebrating the 'Annie' Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe -- first, the portrait itself, named after Mrs. Anne Richmond, Poe's friend and the original owner of the photograph, and the curious story of its making and her care of it (she survived Poe by fifty years), and secondly, because it is among the images being made freely available by the Getty Trust as part of its new Open Content program. Following the lead of the Rijksmuseum, the Getty is making a wide array of high-res images of its collections -- any in which no other copyright is known -- available for free to anyone. It is a bold move, and one I personally welcome; there's nothing that so irks a researcher as inordinate fees for images which -- other than the fact that the museum owns their originals -- would long be out of copyright.

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