Since Niepce and Daguerre invented the first process, which was made public in 1839, photography continued to be improved and grew in popularity throughout the 19th century.
Here, Dagnan-Bouveret demonstrates that fascination with photography, with a young married couple posing in the studio of a photographer entrusted with taking their portrait, surrounded by their friends and family. This scene is based on the study of a real studio in Avenue des Termes, Paris, but here is situated in Vesoul, where its creator often stayed, as indicated on the notice above the door.
Such a subject could only please the painter when he himself became engaged. As he wrote to his future wife Anne-Marie Walter, “I like this subject. It pleases me enormously to work on it and it talks to me about you every day, so to speak.”
The work bristles with vivid details in the way the characters are arranged and their attitudes, attracting public attention when the picture was shown at the Salon de Paris in 1879, where it achieved great acclaim.