Recovered detail in the 1847 daguerreotype of Emily Dickinson

September 24, 2021: An update of the post below, showing much more detail and providing some background information, is viewable at


As of 2019, only one photograph of Emily Dickinson has been fully authenticated: a daguerreotype taken in 1847, when Dickinson was sixteen years old. It is now in the possession of Amherst College, and this is the reproduction that Amherst makes available online.

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As you see, it isn’t a very satisfactory representation. Its lighting is washed out and the image of the poet’s face is affected by motion blur. However, artificial-intelligence software is now making it possible for image processors like Photoshop to recover lost pixels and latent details, so here’s a refined view prepared with Topaz Studios’ AI Clear and Sharpen AI in stabilize mode.

Dickinson photoshopped