|Gustave Le Gray, selfportrait, 1847 - with his Daguerreotype camera - (modern copy of daguerreotype)|
Gustave Le Gray (1820 – 1884) has been called "the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century" because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture making.
Le Gray studied painting in the studio of Paul Delaroche, and made his first daguerreotypes by at least 1847. His real contributions—artistically and technically—however, came in the realm of paper photography, in which he first experimented in 1848. The first of his four treatises, published in 1850, boldly—and correctly—asserted that "the entire future of photography is on paper."