Janez Avguštin Puhar was born on 26 August 1814 in Kranj. He went to school in Kranj and Ljubljana, and after finishing grammar school he enrolled in a seminary and was ordained a priest in 1838. He served in various parts of Slovenia, and is known for his work in Metlika, Ljubno na Gorenjskem, Bled and Cerklje. In his final year of life he was a curate in Dovje, but he became seriously ill and returned home to Kranj, where he died on 7 August 1864.
Even as a student he had a remarkable talent for languages and music, and was also interested in botany, mathematics, physics and chemistry. When reading journals about the latest scientific findings he came across the Daguerreotype, photography on a copper plate with a polished silver surface. Because the process was very expensive, he made use of glass and adapted the chemicals used in the process, thereby discovering the exceptional advantages of glass. He wrote his first report of his experiments with the Daguerreotype in the newspaper Carniolia in 1841. In April 1842 he invented photography on glass, a pioneering contribution to the history of photography. He named the process the “hyalotype” (today also known as the puharotype), or svetlopis in Slovene. Puhar reported his findings in Carniolia, and in Innerösterreichisches Industrie- und Gewerbe Blatt in 1843. After Puhar’s report was published in 1851 by Vienna’s Academy of Sciences, in 1852 the National Academy of Agriculture, Manufacturing and Commerce in Paris awarded him honorary membership and a diploma recognising him as the “inventor of photography on glass”. His photographs were exhibited in London (1851), New York (1852) and Paris (1855). Very few of his original works have been preserved. Apart from a few pictures on glass, there are also some of the photographs on paper that Puhar made by his own process.
Source: National Museum of Slovenia
Janez Puhar was an inventor and one of the pioneers of photography, and the Republic of Slovenia is marking the 200th anniversary of his birth by issuing collector coins. The coins feature a landscape scene taken from a Puhar photograph of Cerklje na Gorenjskem, the first landscape photograph taken in Slovenia.
Coin Designer: Maja Vodlan, Domžale / Slovenia
Minting: Royal Dutch Mint, the Netherlands