Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (18 November 1787 – 10 July 1851) was a French artist and physicist, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography.
Daguerre was born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Val-d'Oise, France. He apprenticed in architecture, theatre design, and panoramic painting with Pierre Prévost, the first French panorama painter. Exceedingly adept at his skill of theatrical illusion, he became a celebrated designer for the theatre and later came to invent the Diorama, which opened in Paris in July 1822.
In 1822, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce produced the world's first heliograph and four years later the first permanent photograph. Daguerre partnered with Niépce three years later, beginning a four-year cooperation. Niépce died suddenly in 1833. The main reason for the "partnership", as far as Daguerre was concerned, might have been connected to his already famous dioramas. Niépce was a printer and his process was based on a faster way to produce printing plates. Daguerre perhaps thought that the process developed by Niépce could help speed up his diorama creation.
Daguerre announced the latest perfection of the Daguerreotype, after years of experimentation, in 1839, with the French Academy of Sciences announcing the process on 7 January of that year. Daguerre's patent was acquired by the French Government, and, on 19 August 1839, the French Government announced the invention was a gift "Free to the World."
Niépce's son and Daguerre obtained a pension from the Government in exchange for freely sharing the details of the process. Daguerre died on 10 July 1851 of a heart attack in Bry-sur-Marne, 12 km (7 mi) from Paris. A monument marks his grave there.
Daguerre's name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel tower.