"When the vision came, he was in the bathtub." So begins the madness of pioneering photographer Louis Daguerre. In 1847, after a decade of using poisonous mercury vapors to cure his daguerreotype images, his mind is plagued by delusions. Believing the world will end within one year, Daguerre creates his "Doomsday List"—ten items he must photograph before the final day—and enlists the help of his friend Charles Baudelaire to find the right items. The list includes a portrait of Isobel Le Fournier, a woman Daguerre has loved but not spoken to in half a century.
"Smith writes beautifully of Daguerre's fascination with light ... [and] refreshes our eyes. In a world awash in photographs, he makes us marvel anew at these efforts to outwit mortality, the 'mirrors with a memory'."—LATimes