RE: Daguerreotypes reply from Bob

From: Christopher Lovenguth ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 08/22/04-08:50:38 AM Z
Message-id: <DMEEKDFGLBNEJPJHOHNFGEBJCAAA.chris@chrisportfolio.com>

I see this both ways. I'm always pro-teaching anything (which is why I'm a
huge supporter of artist going to art school) but I did learn this process
(Becquerrel) on my own. It would have been much easier with an instructor
there at my side, but I didn't have that luxury. Besides the chemical hazard
issues, which just requires you learn about safety procedures, it is really
an easy process step-by-step. Now that's just looking at it in a
step-by-step list. Each step can make or break your image, but, when broken
down: buff, fume, expose, sunlight "develop", fix, gild, it's really not
that difficult. Again don't take this the wrong way because there are major
challenges to every step and I for one do not make "perfect" plates, but at
the same time it's not an unattainable process to learn on your own. When I
first started exploring if this process was even still done a few years ago
and started asking questions here and on some other lists, I was pretty much
told it can't be learned unless you go learn it from someone. I'm glad I
didn't listen because learning Becquerrel daguerreotype making on my own has
been one of the most enriching things I have ever done. Would I still take a
workshop? Yes. Would I have saved hundreds of hours and dollars learning
from someone? Yes. But, I feel I have a unique way of going about making
images now that maybe I wouldn't have if I had been shown in a workshop how
to make a dag. I work with the "faults" in my plates, they are part of the
image, mood, what I'm "saying" in my work.

Anyways my two cents. If you have the chance to learn from someone, do it.
If not, but you still have the desire to learn this process, read a ton of
information, learn about the chemicals and how to work with them safely and
expect to spend much money and about half a year of your life until you see
consistent results or even an image.

- Chris

www.christopherlovenguth.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert W. Schramm [mailto:schrammrus@hotmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2004 9:59 PM
To: alt-photo-process-l@sask.usask.ca
Subject: Re: Daguerreotypes reply from Bob

I do not wish to start a flame war but I do want to defend my statement that
one needs to be instructed by a master daguerreotypist. For example, how do
you know that a plate has been properly polished unless a master
daguerreotypist shows you a properly polished plate. There are other subtle
things about a properly polished plate that cannot be easily illlustrated or
described.
Next, plates are fumed in iodine until a straw yellow color is achieved.
This cannot be done by time or time/temperature formulas. Someone has to
show you what the correct color is. i.e. you must see what is meant by
"straw yellow." Exposure is also something than cannot be determened by
using a light meter. One can only gain experience at proper exposure with
the advice of a master daguerreotypist or by trial and error which uses up a
lot of plates.

I'm not saying you cannot learn to make a daguerreotype by yourself but
there are daguerreotypes and daguerreotypes. There is a big difference
between getting an images and getting a knock-your-socks off dag image to
die for.

Finally, let me address the issue of safety. As I have have stated, as a
retired experimental nuclear physicist I was familiar with the dangers of
dealing with mercury vapor, iodine, bromine and minute silver particles
created by the polishing wheel. I built a fume hood in my studio and tested
it for air flow. I have a special respirator that filters out mercury vapor,
iodine vapor and bromine. I wear gloves and protective gear including
goggles. You may be lucky in working with these materials without safety
gear but mercury poisoning affects the central nervous system and inhaling
iodine and bromine can be very distructive to ones lungs. Remember chlorine
gas (same family) from WWI.

I would be the last person to attempt to tell a fellow alternative process
printer what to do, and believe me this is not a lecture, but I feel that I
would be remiss if I did not issue at least one warning and this is it. I'm
sure that the dag process can be done less expensively but at greater risk
to the individual. This is something that each person must evaluate for
thereself.

Again, I would be happy to answer any questions about the dag process and
help you achieve a safe working environment. You have only to ask. But I
repeat my statement that this can be a dangerous process.

Bob Schramm
Check out my web page at:

  http://www.SchrammStudio.com

&gt;From: Etienne Garbaux &lt;photographeur@softhome.net&gt;
&gt;Reply-To: alt-photo-process-l@sask.usask.ca
&gt;To: alt-photo-process-l@sask.usask.ca
&gt;Subject: Re: Daguerreotypes
&gt;Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2004 12:25:33 -0400
&gt;
&gt;Bob wrote (snipped)
&gt;
&gt; &gt; In my opinion, the look of a Becquerrel plate is luike [unlike?]
that of
&gt; &gt;a mercury
&gt; &gt; plate. It has its own beauty but not like that of a mercury plate.
&gt;
&gt;Agreed. I've never done Becquerel development myself, but the examples
I've
&gt;seen both from the 19th C and recent never display the full tonal range
the
&gt;mercury process does, and the character of the deposited image particles
is
&gt;different.
&gt;
&gt; &gt; I did a lot af alternative processes before daguerreotype. I
learned
&gt; &gt; them all on my own but I realized tat this could not be done in
the case of
&gt; &gt; the daguerreotype. You have to have a master daguerreotypist
standing there
&gt; &gt; with you, looking over your shoulder.
&gt;
&gt;Here I do not agree with Bob. I taught myself using just the old texts,
&gt;and it is really not very difficult if you have the patience to polish
&gt;copper plates to a Hubble-mirror-quality finish. With all of the recent
&gt;attention and available process information, particularly including
Bob's,
&gt;I don't see why anyone would need personal instruction to make good
dags.
&gt;I also didn't find it all that expensive, although I was definitely more
of
&gt;a cowboy about dealing with the hazards than Bob, except as they relate
&gt;directly to personal protection (and for this reason I will not
elaborate
&gt;on method further, so as not to encourage bad environmental habits).
You
&gt;do not need to buy all of the expensive equipment that Bob uses just to
&gt;make good dags -- that is mostly to control the mercury and halogen
vapors;
&gt;any number of homemade solutions will work, particularly if your concern
is
&gt;more personal safety than environmental correctness. (This is not to
say
&gt;you shouldn't use this equipment if you can afford it, and Bob gives
good
&gt;justification for doing so on his web site.)
&gt;
&gt;Best regards,
&gt;
&gt;etienne
Received on Sun Aug 22 12:26:39 2004

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