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Self-portrait with Plaster Casts
1850 (ca, taken) 1965 (print)
Gelatin silver print
21.4 x 19.5 cm (image)
National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada
Printed by Gassmann père & fils.
Curatorial description (Accessed: 3 December 2015)
Bayard was the first photographer to make a series of self-portraits, often in his garden or with his statues. There are approximately 30 photographs in which Bayard himself is the primary subject. In this photograph, he sits with a plaster medallion or plaque upon his lap, surrounded by bas-reliefs and small statues. This image is closely related to another photograph, done about the same time, in which the same objects are placed in identical positions. Bayard had tried his hand at making photograhic images on paper before Daguerre invented a way to secure images on polished silver plates. Within weeks of the official announcement, Bayard was producing photographs that were a combination of both Talbot's positive-negative paper technique and Daguerre's process. He was paid to keep his discoveries a secret, possibly not to interfere with the celebrations associated with Daguerre's invention.