This past weekend I had a chance to see the dauguerrotype exhibit at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.
I went primarily because I thought the exhibit would be interesting in that 'historical process' sense. Boy, was I wrong.
This exhibit is incredible. The two photographers, Southworth and Hawes, did dauguerrotype portraits of prominent folks, which were interesting for their historical value. Just seeing so many dauguerrotypes all in one place was a treat. The detail, the tonality - wow.
Best of all, the images - they're wonderful. Quotidian family photos, as well as brooding portraits of the high and mighty.
And one, wonderful little image of the roof line of buildings silhouetted against a beautiful array of clouds. The tonality in the clouds is breathtaking. My daughter and I stood there, entranced, for quite a while. We discussed whether we would get caught if we stole it. We left it there, but it's been a long, long time since I've coveted a photograph the way I covet that little dauguerrotype of clouds.
And then, on the way out, we visited the front exhibit area. And what should be there, but a wonderful exhibit of Nicholas Nixon prints - some of his early work, which I hadn't seen, and also a complete collection of the Brown Sisters prints - all of them, from 1975 to 2005. That's just an incredible project, and the prints are worth the trip to Rochester just to see them alone.
But the one-two lineup - the dauguerrotypes and the Nixon prints - well, you've got to go. You just have to stop whatever the heck you're doing now, and make plans to go see this stuff.