Artist
Marcus Aurelius Root
American photographer

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Marcus Aurelius Root
American photographer
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Birth Date

1808

Death Date

1888

gstecyk's picture

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Marcus Aurelius Root was one of the original techies.

Root studied portrait painting under renowned artist Thomas Sully until Sully dismissed him for a lack of talent. For Root, when one door closed, a lens cap opened. He channeled his keen perception of the human condition into the revolutionary new medium of photography. A pioneer of daguerreotype, he was also one of the first to experiment in paper photographs.

In his heyday, Root was the Annie Leibovitz of the Nineteenth Century, photographing some of the biggest celebrities of his day, including Goth icon Edgar Allan Poe, Swedish soprano Jenny Lind and P.T Barnum with his protégée, little-person superstar General Tom Thumb. Root championed photography as an art form comparable to painting rather then just an amusing novelty, but is best remembered today for penning the book The Camera and the Pencil, one of the earliest histories of photography.

Root could also have been a Victorian prequel of the Final Destination horror franchise. He was brutally crippled in a train wreck (suffering from his injuries for the rest of his life), only to die years later as a result of a streetcar accident. If only the poor guy could catch a break as easily as he could catch a train.

After his first accident, Marcus’ studio was taken over by his brother Samuel Root. Samuel was also an accomplished photographer who may be responsible for some of Marcus’ most notable portraits, including that of P.T. Barnum with General Tom Thumb. He also shared his brother’s biblically bad luck, and knack for turning lemons into lemonade. When a catastrophic hailstorm shattered the skylight of the studio, Samuel Root photographed the four-inch chunks of ice and sold them.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Marcus Aurelius Root

Marcus Aurelius Root (1808–1888) was a writing teacher and photographer. He was born in Granville, Ohio and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

On 20 June 1846, he bought John Jabez Edwin Mayall's Chestnut Street photography studio that was in the same building as Root's residence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Root had success as a daguerreotypist working with his brother, Samuel Root. The Root Brothers had a gallery in New York City from 1849 to 1857.

Marcus Aurelius Root authored an important book on photography entitled The Camera and the Pencil.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Marcus Aurelius Root.