Thus Josiah Johnson Hawes described his transformation from carpenter's apprentice to photographer following a brief career in painting. After attending a pivotal series of lectures given in Boston in 1840 by Daguerre's pupil François Gouraud at which Hawes's future partner, Albert Sands Southworth, was present, Hawes took up daguerreotypy. He initially became an itinerant daguerreotypist but joined Southworth in partnership in Boston four years later.
Soon after witnessing Gouraud's demonstration, Southworth moved to New York to learn more about the daguerreotype process. From 1840 until 1844 he was a partner in a photographic studio with Joseph Pennell. Pennell left the firm, and Hawes joined Southworth in a partnership that lasted seventeen years. They patented the "Grand Parlor Stereoscope" camera and later a plate holder and stereoscope viewer. Southworth and Hawes also began to sell daguerreotype supplies, including cameras and chemicals. In 1862 they dissolved the firm; Southworth lectured about photography until his retirement, and Hawes continued to photograph until his death at ninety-three.