Charles DeForest Fredricks or later referrred to as C. D. Fredricks was born in 1823.
In 1843 Fredricks was a clerk in a bank, when he began to take lessons from Jeremiah Gurney. Late in the summer he traveled to Venezuela to the district of Augostura on the Orinoco river on a business speculation to take views of the city and visit his brother . He returned with the daguerreotype images and fully embarked on his photography career. He continued to travel to South America, visiting Pernambuco, Rio Janeiro, Rio Grande, and others. He took pictures and soon began selling them with noted success, sometimes being paid in horses by the poorer class, of which he soon became proprietor of a large drove.
In 1853 he opened a photographic establishment in Paris, and was the first to make life-size heads, employing artists to finish them in pastel. While in Paris, Talbot announced his Talbotypes and C.D. Fredericks brought the discovery back to America. He later became one of the first and finest photographers using Talbot's modern paper process. His high quality images he marketed as "Specialite". The first photographs were small in size and were called cartes de visite.
Upon his return to New York, Fredricks entered into partnership with Gurney for a short time from 1855-57 and continued to occupy the gurney gallery at 707 Broadway. The specialty that Mr. Fredricks makes at present, is the taking of club portraits as shown below, and in this he has built up a vast business which has no cessation in prosperity. In 1855 he began to travel and document Havana, Cuba where he opened an office.
in 1858 Frank Leslies Illustrated News describes the Fredrick's Photograph Gallery with the following.
B R O A D W A Y A T N I G H T . : Fredricks' Photographic Gallery, 585 and 587 Broadway, was brilliantly illuminated with colored lanterns. The words "Photographic Temple of Art" were formed by hundreds of lamps, covering a semicircular arch of sixty feet in curve. The windows and balconies of these magnificent Daguerrian rooms were crowded during the day with spectators, almost to the interruption of business. There is no more popular photographic gallery in New York than this, and no where are portraits obtained with greater fidelity. Fredricks' Gallery is usually resorted to for groups, especially of military, and he was called upon, on Saturday, to exercise his art on the officers of H.B.M. steam frigate Gorgon, whose portraits he took.
C.D. Fredricks continued with his career until 1889 and amassed a large portfolio of city views of South America, Cuba and has taken many portraits of famous people including theatre performers, politicians and military heroes. His images of cuba are well documented in the book Cuba in the 1850's: Through the Lens of Charles Deforest Fredricks by Robert M. Levine, H. L. Hoffenberg.
Fredricks died in 1894 in New York City
Frank Leslie's Illustrated News Vol. 4, 11 September 1858
"The Star" (New York) Vol. 20, 6 November 1887
Craigs Daguerreian registry 1997
Anthony's Photographic Bulletin, Photo Illus., vol. 12, April 1881
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