Janez Puhar

Photographer, Visual Artist

1814 – 1864


Who was Janez Puhar?

Janez Avguštin Puhar was a Slovene Catholic priest, inventor, scientist, photographer, artist and poet. His name was usually rendered as Johann Pucher in Western European countries.

Puhar is notable as the inventor of a very unusual process for making photographs on glass. Although his were not the first glass photographs, as has been mistakenly claimed, his invention is unique among historical processes as the only one not based on expensive silver halide chemistry and yet sensitive enough for use in a camera, with exposure times comparable to the daguerreotype and calotype processes. Other non-silver processes, such as the cyanotype, were practical only for making prints or photograms in direct sunlight. Puhar's process was never commercialized and he may have kept key details secret, as recent attempts to recreate it based on the contemporary published information have so far been unsuccessful. Modern non-destructive testing of surviving original specimens has confirmed the chemically unusual nature of the images.

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Aug 26, 1814
Aug 7, 1864

on July 23, 2013


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