Fredricks, Charles Deforest (1823–1894)

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Fredricks, Charles Deforest (1823–1894)

Charles DeForest Fredricks (b. 1823; d. 1894), one of the New World's first successful commercial photographers. By 1843, when Fredricks traveled to Latin America, he was already a master of the daguerreotype process, which had been introduced in France just four years earlier. He spent nine years traveling on the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in Venezuela and Brazil, where he recorded the images of indigenous tribes and documented local scenes in coastal cities from Recife to Buenos Aires. He is said to have exchanged a daguerreotype portrait of a local caudillo for a live jaguar, which he kept as a pet. Familiar with Cuba—where as a boy he had been sent from New York to learn Spanish—in 1855 he opened a photographic studio in Havana, C. D. Fredricks y Daries, on Havana Street. His scenes, very similar to the works of the French-born lithographer Pierre Toussans Fredorie Mialhe, seek to memorialize urban architectural monuments, not to capture everyday life. Fredricks visited Cuba occasionally but mostly left his studio in the hands of Cuban employees.

See alsoAmazon Region; Photography: The Nineteenth Century.


Robert M. Levine, Cuba in the 1850s: Through the Lens of Charles DeForest Fredricks (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Vasquez, Pedro. O Brasil na fotografia oitocentista. São Paulo: Metalivros, 2003.

                                    Robert M. Levine