Speaking of photography... I recently had an impromptu history lesson regarding the daguerreotype. While I am currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel prize winning author who also wrote and compiled the lesser known Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor. (When I read Sailor, my fascination with sharks was fed by this book's wild occurances).
In the book, Jose Arcadio Buendia is introduced to a daguerreotype and thinks it magical--with it he hopes to capture the image of God to prove his existence .
I'm embarrassed to admit, prior to this I hadn't the slightest that a daguerreotype was a form of photography where the image is directly exposed to a metal plate, which is coated with sensitive chemicals to pick up the image.
Unbeknownst to me, the very next day was a daguerreotype anniversary of sorts, which I learned more about here. Wired has something to say about Mr. Daguerre, too.
Above, "the best known image of Edgar Allen Poe was a daguerreotype taken in 1848 by WS Hartshorn", says this blurb in Wikipedia.