Re: Daguerreotypes

From: Robin Dreyer ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 08/20/04-04:09:53 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Jerry Spagnoli is the guy you want to take a workshop with. He may be
the only person regularly teaching the process. He teaches regularly at
Photographer's Formulary and every two or three years at Penland School
of Crafts ( I took his workshop at Penland four years
ago and am taking it again in a couple weeks.

The method he teaches is pretty low-toxicity as the plates are
sensitized with iodine only (instead of the traditional iodine/bromine
mix) and using amber light rather than fuming mercury for development
(this variant is technically called the Becqeurrel process after the
guy who discovered it). This method is capable of producing beautiful
plates although they are very slow and high contrast as compared with
the traditional process (really, really high contrast--they will hold a
two stop range). It is, however, the only logical way to learn to make
daguerreotypes. The traditional method takes a lot of care and
commitment--and a fume hood. It's not something to mess with casually.

It's one of the most labor-intensive processes imaginable. To make them
regularly, you need to set up a buffer, make a fuming box, and find a
place to get copper plates electroplated with silver. I haven't done
any of this yet, but it's on the big list.

Jerry is a fantastic teacher--extremely knowledgeable about every facet
of the process, including its history. He's also a remarkable artist.
His work has not been widely published, but you can see a few images in
they Lyle Rexer book (Photography's Antiquarian Avant Garde). Of course
reproductions don't really do justice to this remarkable process.

It's worth pursuing. When they work, they are amazing.

Robin Dreyer

On Friday, August 20, 2004, at 11:37 AM, D. Mark Andrews wrote:

> Marie,
> You will find a Dag workshop offered by Photographer's Formulary. I
> think
> this summer's session is already complete, however.
> It is often taught by Jerry Spagnoli who was highly praised by a
> couple of
> workshop participants I met. I don't have a url for him, sorry.
> may be worth checking out.
> Good luck.
> Mark
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marie Wohadlo []
> Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 11:13 AM
> To: Jon Danforth
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: Daguerreotypes
> Great. I am serious about the dags. In my mind, there is NO rival to
> them.
> I want to get to the photo print library study room at the Art
> Institute of
> Chicago, (perhaps contact the Dag show's supporter(s)) and look into
> exactly WHAT is so capativating. I suspect it is partly the lighting,
> their
> sheer age and potential for a little mental time travel, and their
> virtual
> lack of any resolution to speak of.
> I have NO idea where to find a dag workshop -- maybe I can begin
> looking
> soon.
> Do you know if there is a process without mercury, or if it is just
> very
> very carefully controlled.
> Sorry, if this is answered in the links you sent me -- haven't gotten
> to
> them yet, although I am aware of the Dag Society. I was a bit
> overwhelmed
> by their website. It's frustrating because the process(es) seem part
> folklore and part science, like try to track down, say, a 'true'
> history of
> quilting.
Received on Fri Aug 20 13:08:17 2004

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