Recovered detail in the 1847 daguerreotype of Emily Dickinson

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


Quantitative demo: Dickinson > Poe

The other day I posted this portrait to my Tumblr over a caption by Emily Dickinson: “I see thee better in the dark.”


Instantly the likes and reblogs began pouring in, and by the time the flood let up there were 255 of them.

Last night I posted this portrait over a caption by Edgar Allan Poe: “How statue-like I see thee stand, / The agate lamp within thy hand!”


Total number of likes and reblogs as of late this morning: 2.