Early Photography in Hawaii

The early 1800s witnessed the early development of chemical photography. Hawaii saw the camera for the first time in 1819. Jacques Etienne Victor Arago, the de Freycinet expedition ship’s artist, said that he “showed Rieourious a Camera obscura,” a filmless device to aid in sketching scenes.

The first daguerreotypes (first practicable photographic process) of Hawaii residents debuted in 1843–Theophilus Metcalf took a picture of Timoteo Haalilio and William Richards in Paris (left image) on a diplomatic mission.

For five months in 1845, Metcalf, the first commercial photographer in Hawaii, ran an advertisement in The Polynesian for his service, taking “likenesses by the Daguerrotype.”

The first advertisement in Hawaii announcing the sale of a camera appeared in The Polynesian in 1848. S. H. Williams & Company was selling its “daguerreotype apparatus” with “chemicals complete.”

The first half tones in Honolulu newspapers showed up in the Evening Bulletin on September 30, November 11, and December 2, 1899.

– Alice Kim

Sources

“For sale”
Polynesian, July 1, 1848, Page 27, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015408/1848-07-01/ed-1/seq-3/

Evening bulletin, September 30, 1899, Image 1
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1899-09-30/ed-1/seq-1/

Evening bulletin, November 11, 1899, Page 6
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1899-11-11/ed-1/seq-6/

Evening bulletin, December 2, 1899, Page 6
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016413/1899-12-02/ed-1/seq-6/


2 Comments on “Early Photography in Hawaii”

  1. […] After returning to Hawaii, Metcalf started his photography business as Hawaii’s first commercial photographer. Read more about it in “Early Photography in Hawaii.” […]

  2. […] After returning to Hawaii, Metcalf started his photography business as Hawaii’s first commercial photographer. Read more about it in “Early Photography in Hawaii.” […]


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