So with all the film I have been shooting I have fallen a little behind. However this picture is not film..it is a daguerreotype. I took a Daguerreotype Workshop with the only living Canadian Daguerreotypist, Mike Robinson. A daguerreotype is a latent image on a silver plate that takes about 1 1/2 hours to prepare: buff, polish, and sensitize. It is also one of the earliest forms of photography and launched the Portrait Photography Industry. Before that you were paying a good $10-$50 dollars to have your portrait painted. Louis Daguerre invented the process in 1839 and gave it’s patent to the French Government who then in turn “Gave the gift of Photography Free to the World” except for England, whom they made purchase the patents. Ouch! It is a wonder how that tunnel between England and France was ever built! The daguerreotype’s heyday was from 1839-1860 but, as the industrial revolution hit high gear, was replaced with the faster process of tintypes and glass plates. Sound like that digital vs film debate!
The workshop took place in Pittsburgh at the Daguerreian Society Headquarters, which also had an amazing exhibit of the history of Daguerreotypes, as well as some modern masters works. My wonderful inlaws (the Bartlett Pair) also showed me their great great Grandparents civil war daguerreotype portraits from 1861. I’m curious to know if any of you readers still have any family daguerreotypes? Not only are “dags” beautiful but they can last forever.
One final note, the picture above is of me with my Zero Image 6×12 Pinhole Camera and I am taking a picture of Mike as he is shooting me!