Re: Color Daguerreotypes?

From: Etienne Garbaux ^lt;>
Date: 01/24/04-06:42:09 PM Z
Message-id: <p05210600bc38bb5bf38a@[]>

> Hi Judy,
> Perhaps this was the book: Pioneers of Photography: Their Achievements
> in Science and Technology. Springfield, VA: The Society of Imaging Science
> and Technology, 1997, distributed by the Northeastern University Press.
> -Phillip
> Judy Seigel wrote:
>> There's been quite a bit published about Levi Hill, but this story is not
>> among the many I've read. There was in fact a respected book about the
>> issue, probably about 1990 (I saw it at Harvey Zucker's, and skimmed it,
>> but didn't buy)... In sum, several serious experts (from RIT? Don't
>> remember) did succeed in making the "real color" dags according to his
>> instructions, which were shown in the book. They didn't look exactly like
>> C-prints, but they were still a real accomplishment... and exceedingly
>> difficult to make and replicate.
>> The "explanation" of these workers was something (again from vague memory)
>> to do with the chemicals which were not uniform at the time -- nor were
>> instruments and manipulations very advanced.
>> I suspect that this book is the same kind of hoax it purports to describe.
>> What are the footnotes and the the documentation? Sounds way way way too
>> pat, or glib, to me... and I think not mentioned, let alone documented, in
>> other histories.
>> What has been reported, howwever, is the crazed frustration Hill
>> experienced as he repeatedly failed to duplicate his original results. He
>> died bitter and defeated, also hounded by accusations of the sort repeated
>> here.
>> Judy

I vividly recall learning that someone succeeded in making color images
using a somewhat modified Daguerrotype process "way back when," and that
some research in the later 20th Century was able to duplicate the
phenomenon. I saw reproduced photos of several (originals and repros, I
think), and they had very accurate but not very saturated color. I do not
recall who the original worker (possible it was Hill/Heliochrome, possibly
not) or the modern researchers were. I think the sensitive plate was
prepared using very close to standard Dag practice, but development was not
chemical, perhaps Becquerel, and there was something very fragile or
fugitive about the image -- perhaps, as has been said by others on this
thread, that fixing destroyed the colors.

In any event, the color mechanism was found to be interference -- the light
waves recording the image produced chroic (probably dichroic, but I do not
recall) interference filters by creating some sort of layered structure of
the image deposit. [This suggests that pure, monochromatic colors, such as
the color spectrum from a prism, would give much better results than the
impure, polychromatic reflected colors of real-world objects.]

Wish I 'membered more, but alas that's all I retain today.

Best regards,

Received on Sat Jan 24 18:42:38 2004

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