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See Inside Scientific American Volume 307, Issue 6

Early Daguerreotype Photographs Get Cloudy on Display [Slide Show]

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George Eastman House Study Collection

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In early 2005 the International Center of Photography in New York City placed on display a number of early daguerreotypes—one of the earliest forms of photography. Within a month spots and hazing began to mar the images. As Daniel Grushkin recounts in "Nano-Scientists Attempt to Save Disintegrating Artworks," a team of conservators and physicists set out to attempt to understand the nanochemistry that was destroying the 150-year-old artworks. These three images from the exhibit demonstrate how these relics of the recent past began to fade before museumgoers' eyes.

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