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Thread: Modern Daguerreotype

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Modern Daguerreotype

    Hello Everyone, I just wanted to share one of my newly made daguerreotypes. I used the becquerrel process as opposed the traditional warm mercury method. I used an 1850's English style camera and C.C. Harrison daguerrean lens (radial drive) used by one of Jesse Harrison Whitehurst assistants at his Richmond studio (1850's). The silver plated phototgraph was taken 7/10/2007. Feel free to leave comments.

    Thank You

    -Mad Hatters Daguerrean Gallery


  2. #2
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
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    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Beautiful work! Is that type of dag a difficult process to learn?

  3. #3

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    May 2007
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    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Hi, the process is very time consuming, expensive, dangerous, and very difficult to learn. Of course, I taught myself the process through trial and error. I am currently using the Becquerrel method as opposed to the traditional hot mercury style. Although, I am soon going to begin using the cold mercury method. Silver-plated copper is about $40.00 a pop. I am currently the youngest daguerreotypist in this century according to the George Eastman House. I will be turning 18 years old in August. I have started my own private business called Mad Hatters Daguerrean Gallery. Here is another dag I did not to long ago which I am going to sell soon.

  4. #4

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    Mar 2005
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    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Do you have an expert in handling mercury to help you? Mercury is toxic, and if you spill any, or vaporize any, outside of an approved industral vent system, you could make the place you are working into a hazardous waste site - think tens of thousands of dollars of remediation before it can be sold if you get a little between the floorboards.

  5. #5

    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Nice work, it is good to see new blood in an old field.

    Where are you getting your plates made? $40 is pretty steep, unless you are using whole-plate or larger. I pay a bit over $12 a plate for my 4x5s ($3 for the copper and $9 for the .0005" silver plating), not counting my labor. They are still explensive but more like a bottle of Merlot than a glass of a Grand Cru.

    Regarding mercury Ed is correct; you really do need guidance in handling it. Even with the cold-mercury method it must be handled in a well-built fume hood with great care, as it it is very spill prone. Of course the bromine is just as nasty, but does its damage immediately to your lungs rather than slowly to your nervous system.

    But by the looks of your Becquerel plates you are well on your way.

  6. #6

    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Didn't I see you posting on the Classic Camera Group over on MySpace? You are in San Diego too. Either way, welcome to the LF Forum. If you are the same person from MySpace, I think some of the regulars here might like to see what cameras you are using.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    7

    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Hello, I have a portable darkroom box set up outside away from my house windows. If I were to use mercury I would use my gas mask with Drager filter to block out all inorganic acids. It's a pretty expensive filter. I'm also good friends with my high school chemistry teacher. I will contact him if I plan to use it. Would that be the safe route? Oh, I buy my half plates from Jonathan Danforth in North Carolina.

  8. #8

    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Does anyone know why it's necessary to use silver plated copper as opposed to say, silver plated aluminum? A cheaper base metal plate?

    W.

  9. #9
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    ra, you really need to have someone beyond your chemistry teacher hrlp you. What Ed is saying is that you could cause environmental damagemthat might 1) cost you or your parents many thousands of dollars to clean up and 2) subject you to civil and criminal liabilities that could cost you more dollars in fines and potentially even a felony convection. Not simple stuff.

    William, I believe Kerik Kouklis does just that.

  10. #10

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    May 2007
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    7

    Re: Modern Daguerreotype

    Back in 2006, I had Ray Morgenweck build me a daguerreotype camera. Here is a picture.


    Yes, I do have a myspace it's timemachine1899. At school, I'm taking graphics so I use that period of time to take daguerreotypes/wet plates of students and teachers. The Principal and I struck a deal. Because you cannot sell stuff on campus. With the earnings I make some of that has to go to donation to the school to support clubs. For that, I am on the school's honor roll list. I did a wet plate tintype of my Principal.


    With all the money I have earned I finally found and bought myself and original Scovill Manufacturing Company Head Clamp to keep my sitters still. I can now make plates without having to worry about the sitter moving his head. It still has it's original paint too which could potentially be dangerous as I believed it contains lead. Not sure? Here is a picture.


    I'm also a big fan of 1880's style photography. I use an 1887 Hayden & Co. Flash lamp and 1904 Seneca view camera. Here is a picture.

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