L'Atelier de l'artiste.Taken in 1837 by Daguerre, one of the discoverers of the method.

If you’ve spent much time online today, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of photography blogs are celebrating World Photography Day through various news posts, competitions, sales and every other thing imaginable. So, why today? What makes August 19th worth the effort of being special to photographers? World Photography Day marks the birth of the daguerreotype, the first commercially successful permanent photographic print.

It was actually formalized on January 9th of 1839, but it was August 19th that the French government released the methodology widely, giving it away as “free to the world,” a concept that would never fly in our current world of patents. 172 years ago the world of art changed, as people around the globe discovered a way to record images from light, and keep them permanently.

The original dagguerreotyping process was incredibly unsafe by modern perspectives, using mercury vapor and dangerous chemicals in order to create the image.

So today we celebrate the artform that we all love. You don’t have to do anything special, or go anywhere. Just take out your camera, and take a photo. It can be your SLR, your rangefinder, your cellphone, your Holga, your camera obscura or anything. You can photograph indoors, outdoors, or underwater. Just go out and shoot, and remember why you fell in love with this artform in the first place.