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Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


So I saw my very first real (not a picture in a book) Daguerreotype image the other day at the Met. Oh my god... I think I need to be able to make these things. They are beautiful in a way I can't quite articulate beyond saying "they're shiny".
Anyway I am currently scouring the web for info on this process. If anyone has any experience or could point me toward a good reference on daguerreotypes I would love to hear it.
Dec 09 12 07:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,364
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


google? start here...............

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daugerreotype
Dec 09 12 07:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JMI Images
Posts: 40
Victorville, California, US


What ever you do DON"T DON"T heat mercury in the darkroom like I diid. I spent a week in the hospital. No joke I almost died. Build a fuming box first and do it outside. Darkroom exhaust vents are not enough!!!!!

The whole process is in the book "keepers of the light" Don't remember the author. Sub the Vinegar for salt water (fixer) works better.

After all I went though I'm ready to do it again, But don't tell my wife.

Keep in touch, Jon
Dec 09 12 09:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


i've actually developed a few new variants of the daguerreotype process, so feel free to pick my brain.

Studio 37 West 1 wrote:
What ever you do DON"T DON"T heat mercury in the darkroom like I diid. I spent a week in the hospital. No joke I almost died. Build a fuming box first and do it outside. Darkroom exhaust vents are not enough!!!!!

The whole process is in the book "keepers of the light" Don't remember the author. Sub the Vinegar for salt water (fixer) works better.

After all I went though I'm ready to do it again, But don't tell my wife.

Keep in touch, Jon

or, don't use mercury at all. google the becquerel process. or just treat your plates like really slow printing-out paper and use really long exposures and a ton of light.

Dec 09 12 09:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan Dozer
Posts: 564
La Quinta, California, US


Tim Rudman in his book "The Photographer's Toning Book" talks about a toning method that begins to give the visual look of Daguerreotypes, but doesn't have anything like the hazardous of doing actual Dag's.  Halochrome toner is used to produce a metalic look to your images.  I have the toner but haven't had the chance to use it yet. 

Unfortunately, you can't reproduce the look in any reproduction on either printed books or computer images.
Dec 09 12 10:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Parsons
Posts: 972
Quincy, Massachusetts, US


http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/167

This is from the 1850's (IIRC, it's been a while since I read it), and it's chock full of information, though you may need to do some additional research.
Dec 09 12 10:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Albertex Photography
Posts: 15,106
Mansfield, Texas, US


Tin types, not Daguerreotype but close and amazing to watch.  Had mine done earlier this year: http://www.choosepennsylvania.com/gibso … y-sp-4528/
Dec 09 12 11:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,421
Columbus, Ohio, US


NewBoldPhoto wrote:
So I saw my very first real (not a picture in a book) Daguerreotype image the other day at the Met. Oh my god... I think I need to be able to make these things. They are beautiful in a way I can't quite articulate beyond saying "they're shiny".
Anyway I am currently scouring the web for info on this process. If anyone has any experience or could point me toward a good reference on daguerreotypes I would love to hear it.

There are two places to learn in the eastern US, IMHO.

http://www.collodion.org/

http://johncoffer.com/

If memory serves, the second guy learned from the first...but don't quote me.
Does that suggest anything? smile

I have some dags sitting on my dining room table this very minute.

Dec 10 12 12:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael DBA Expressions
Posts: 3,164
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


FACT: there is a REASON nobody in their right mind does daguerreotypes today. That reason is that the process is an environmental and worker safety train wreck. It does not matter one iota how exquisitely beautiful you find them. Doing them can very easily kill you and turn your entire neighborhood into an EPA disaster zone.

Have you heard the expression "mad as a hatter?" Makers of felt hats used to use mercury in a process that did not even require heating the metal to make it fume, and it poisoned them enough to produce insanity so commonly that the public picked up on the fact and coined that expression.

The earlier poster who heated the mercury in the dark room was indeed fortunate to have survived, but he might not yet be out of the woods. His sanity (no, really) may flee him in the coming years.

So, go to museums and admire all the daguerreotypes you can see. Dig them up from flea markets and collect them. BUT DO NOT MAKE THEM YOURSELF.
Dec 10 12 04:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ronald N. Tan
Posts: 2,739
Los Angeles, California, US


[REDACTED]

Hi Matthew,

I made this list about the MM'er who *actually* specialize in wet-plate, alternative process. My list comprise of collodion photographers, who truly know what they're doing and I believe they are the photographers to engage in conversation. The quality of images are immensely high as well. I fell in love with the process and the "look" of the 19th century alternative process. I knew of the safety concerns and that was why I elected to go with the "fake" or "faux" process in Photoshop by using real textures donated to me from some of the photographers in the list.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=787684.

Link to the Daguerreian Society: http://www.daguerre.org/.



NewBoldPhoto wrote:
So I saw my very first real (not a picture in a book) Daguerreotype image the other day at the Met. Oh my god... I think I need to be able to make these things. They are beautiful in a way I can't quite articulate beyond saying "they're shiny".
Anyway I am currently scouring the web for info on this process. If anyone has any experience or could point me toward a good reference on daguerreotypes I would love to hear it.

Dec 10 12 08:29 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
C h a r l e s D
Posts: 9,304
Los Angeles, California, US


You don't have to use mercury anymore.  Iodine works.  Several books on the subject.

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Make_a_Daguerreotype

http://www.alternativephotography.com/w … uerreotype
Dec 10 12 09:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Michael DBA Expressions wrote:
FACT: there is a REASON nobody in their right mind does daguerreotypes today. That reason is that the process is an environmental and worker safety train wreck. It does not matter one iota how exquisitely beautiful you find them. Doing them can very easily kill you and turn your entire neighborhood into an EPA disaster zone.

Have you heard the expression "mad as a hatter?" Makers of felt hats used to use mercury in a process that did not even require heating the metal to make it fume, and it poisoned them enough to produce insanity so commonly that the public picked up on the fact and coined that expression.

The earlier poster who heated the mercury in the dark room was indeed fortunate to have survived, but he might not yet be out of the woods. His sanity (no, really) may flee him in the coming years.

So, go to museums and admire all the daguerreotypes you can see. Dig them up from flea markets and collect them. BUT DO NOT MAKE THEM YOURSELF.

what a huge steaming load of insulting, uneducated, paranoid, hysterical bs. first of all, mercury is perfectly safe to work with if you use the correct equipment and follow proper safety procedures. second of all, it hasn't been necessary to use mercury to make a daguerreotype since the 1840's, which you would know if you had bothered to read the reply directly bellow the one that inspired this little rant of yours.

C h a r l e s  D wrote:
You don't have to use mercury anymore.  Iodine works.  Several books on the subject.

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Make_a_Daguerreotype

http://www.alternativephotography.com/w … uerreotype

you're half right, but iodine is used to sensitize the plate, not as an alternative to mercury.

Dec 10 12 10:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhillipM
Posts: 6,424
Martin, Tennessee, US


These guys do some alt styled work...

http://collodion.com/
Dec 10 12 10:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


also, the op asked about daguerreotypes, so what's with everyone posting links to wet plate stuff? that's about as useful as posting links to digital camera reviews in a thread about film.
Dec 10 12 10:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhillipM
Posts: 6,424
Martin, Tennessee, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
so what's with everyone posting links to wet plate stuff?

And this hurts whom?

Dec 10 12 10:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


PhillipM wrote:
And this hurts whom?

anyone who comes to this thread looking for information on daguerreotypes and ends up having to sort through a bunch of unrelated wet plate stuff. who do you think you're helping by posting a link that has nothing to do with daguerreotypes in a thread started by a guy looking for info specifically about daguerreotypes?

Dec 10 12 11:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


Thanks for all the links and hints. The wet plate stuff I find fascinating but part of what I find wonderful about Daguerreotypes is the mirror surface. 
As I research I am discovering that the process is brilliantly simple and although there is some work involved it really doesn't seem to be that difficult or even that dangerous given modern equipment just slow and somewhat expensive.   
I am curious about the use of iodine rather than bromine or chlorine to "fog" the silver plates. Although some processes seem to utilize both iodine and bromine salts. 
I may have to see how much the Ostermans would charge to teach me. The whole deal seems like it could be learned in a day- a weekend at the most.

ETA : For those with safety concerns this process has been used for nearly 200 years and while some of the substances used are toxic basic precautions should mitigate most of the risks especially in a modern world with vent fans and respirators. At least it should be no more dangerous than handling the chemicals for a swimming pool or hot tub.
Dec 10 12 07:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


NewBoldPhoto wrote:
I am curious about the use of iodine rather than bromine or chlorine to "fog" the silver plates. Although some processes seem to utilize both iodine and bromine salts. 
I may have to see how much the Ostermans would charge to teach me. The whole deal seems like it could be learned in a day- a weekend at the most.

all dags use iodine. some add chlorine and/or bromine to increase sensitivity, but you're stuck with just iodine if you want to use the becquerel process. you're being incredibly irresponsible if you think this is going to be a simple weekend project

NewBoldPhoto wrote:
ETA : For those with safety concerns this process has been used for nearly 200 years and while some of the substances used are toxic basic precautions should mitigate most of the risks especially in a modern world with vent fans and respirators. At least it should be no more dangerous than handling the chemicals for a swimming pool or hot tub.

vent fans and respirators will not be enough if you're going to use mercury development. you'll need a proper mercury fuming box, inside a fume hood that's scrubbed and vented outside away from people.

Dec 10 12 10:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PhillipM
Posts: 6,424
Martin, Tennessee, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

who do you think you're helping by posting a link that has nothing to do with daguerreotypes in a thread started by a guy looking for info specifically about daguerreotypes?

Because daguerreotypes is a alt.process, and the OP "may" not know about collodion process as well as others that are reading the thread. 

If the OP or anyone else goes there, I figure he/they can figure out on their own, whether they should go ahead and proceed to read through the site, and possibly figure out on their own whether he might even be interested in the process. 

If not, he moves on.  It took all of 3 minutes... wheewwwwww

No harm.

If so, they've seen something new/different, and possibly may look into that as well.

Dec 11 12 03:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
all dags use iodine. some add chlorine and/or bromine to increase sensitivity, but you're stuck with just iodine if you want to use the becquerel process. you're being incredibly irresponsible if you think this is going to be a simple weekend project

How so?
From everything I am reading this is about a 9-12 step procedure

Dec 11 12 04:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Maxximages
Posts: 1,996
Los Angeles, California, US


An article on the process. Seems like more than a weekend, might be able to do a print in a weekend once you are set up. Good luck with your quest.

http://www.alternativephotography.com/w … uerreotype
Dec 11 12 08:05 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


NewBoldPhoto wrote:

How so?
From everything I am reading this is about a 9-12 step procedure

a 9-12 step procedure that requires specialized equipment you'll have to build yourself, chemicals that your government may frown upon members of the general public buying and a specific skill set that you do not currently possess.

Dec 11 12 09:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Diana Jo
Posts: 787
Marysville, Washington, US


I remember seeing my very first daguerrotypes. My first college level photo instructor had a small collection and brought them in. I still remember that "OMG these are SO MUCH BETTER than prints.

It's one of the processes I'm planning on spending too much time on once I get a permanent workplace set-up. I have some ideas that I would really like to work out.

The soon to be retiring head of the photo dept at the second school I went to, does daguerrotypes. There is a small, but lively community out there that does this type of alt process.

You will likely need to build your camera/repair an existing one, need to build much of the equipment, source glass in the appropriate sizes, etc.

I'm also fascinated by callotypes and I may start there. Although, it's the same type of situation (build your own equipment). The callotype has the advantage of being reproducible though.
Dec 11 12 02:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


NewBoldPhoto wrote:
At least it should be no more dangerous than handling the chemicals for a swimming pool or hot tub.

Mercury vapor is FAR, FAR more dangerous than anything used in a pool or hottub.  Those chemicals are not in vapor form, and are not mercury.

Dec 11 12 02:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
you're half right, but iodine is used to sensitize the plate, not as an alternative to mercury.

While you are correct that iodine is used to sensitize the plate, you don't need mercury in a Becquerel-developed daguerreotype. 

So, OP, if you want to play it safe, learn the Becquerel method.  No mercury is used!

Learn the method with this book:
http://contrastique.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/johnbarnier1.jpg

Or this book:
http://i43.tower.com/images/mm111501425/book-alternative-photographic-processes-christopher-james-paperback-cover-art.jpg

I have both books, and both are excellent.  They also describe many more alt process techniques.

Dec 11 12 02:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Carlos Occidental wrote:

While you are correct that iodine is used to sensitize the plate, you don't need mercury in a Becquerel-developed daguerreotype.

yeah, i know, you're quoting me saying as much (that's the half i was saying he was right about). i've already mentioned the becquerel process multiple times in this thread and used it myself.

Dec 11 12 03:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,546
Glendora, California, US


Did you make your own fume box?   I'm really good with wood projects like this.

Gosh I hate to think of the cost of silver plating a copper plate, and gold toner these days.  Have you done this in a few years?  I bought a ton of gold toner five or six years ago when it was getting really expensive, but I can't imagine what it costs now.  Even the copper plate with silver plating must be pretty steep.
Dec 11 12 03:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Carlos Occidental wrote:
Did you make your own fume box?   I'm really good with wood projects like this.

Gosh I hate to think of the cost of silver plating a copper plate, and gold toner these days.  Have you done this in a few years?  I bought a ton of gold toner five or six years ago when it was getting really expensive, but I can't imagine what it costs now.  Even the copper plate with silver plating must be pretty steep.

my first fume box was a cookie tin with the plate taped inside the lid over a few crumbs of iodine. the most elaborate had a spinning platform with a cutout to hold the plate and prevent turbulence at it's corners, an absorbent pad with a few drops of iodine tincture and a peep hole and dim white light on opposite sides of the chamber to judge the thickness of the iodine coating by comparing the light to the colour of it's reflection. you don't have to use silver plated copper. carefully strip the paint from the back of a mirror, clean it with tarnex and you've got a dag plate. not a great one, but good enough for practice attempts. you don't need much gold toner per plate. you're just adding a one atom thick coating of gold.

Dec 11 12 04:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
a 9-12 step procedure that requires specialized equipment you'll have to build yourself, chemicals that your government may frown upon members of the general public buying and a specific skill set that you do not currently possess.

Ah... I see. I think perhaps you misread. I was saying that I thought that the Ostermans ( http://www.collodion.org/ ) could teach me the process in a day not that I could be producing Daguerreotypes by Monday.

Dec 11 12 07:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


NewBoldPhoto wrote:

Ah... I see. I think perhaps you miss read. I was saying that I thought that the Ostermans ( http://www.collodion.org/ ) could teach me the process in a day not that I could be producing Daguerreotypes by Monday.

i didn't misread anything. the process can certainly be demonstrated in a day, but it's not something you're actually going to learn in a day beyond maybe the ability to mimic the process specifically as it was demonstrated to you.

Dec 11 12 08:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BTHPhoto
Posts: 6,771
Fairbanks, Alaska, US


I wish people on MM could find something to argue about.
Dec 11 12 09:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

i didn't misread anything. the process can certainly be demonstrated in a day, but it's not something you're actually going to learn in a day beyond maybe the ability to mimic the process specifically as it was demonstrated to you.

Why?

Dec 11 12 09:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,220
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


NewBoldPhoto wrote:

Why?

you wouldn't expect to learn how to shoot film in a day would you? especially if that required learning how to make your own film from scratch?

Dec 11 12 09:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

you wouldn't expect to learn how to shoot film in a day would you? especially if that required learning how to make your own film from scratch?

Ah. I have no illusions regarding the quality after a day or two  of instruction especially given that the process seems more like potion making than a science. But then that is part of the journey if it was effortless everyone would do it.

Dec 11 12 09:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Regolux
Posts: 26
Seattle, Washington, US


For those in the Seattle area (not the OP, I know), there's an alt-process show at the Eastshore Unitarian Church from now until late January.  It has work from sixteen photographers, using these processes:

Carbon transfer
Chrysotype
Cyanotype
Daguerrotype
Gum bichromate
Lith
Palladium/Platinum
Polaroid image transfer
Polaroid lift
Van Dyke
Wet plate collodion

IMO, the skill levels on display vary a bit, but they range from pretty good to absolutely outstanding.  The daguerrotypes and carbon transfer prints are about as good as any out there.

Most of the artists will be at the reception on January 23.  If you're interested in alt processes, it will be an informative couple of hours -- not the sort of thing that you can see every day.

For more info, see http://www.altphotopacifica.org/.

(Disclosure: I'm not involved in any way, except that I've been in some shows with the curator in the past.  I just think it's cool.)
Dec 11 12 10:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matt Forma
Posts: 373
Denver, Colorado, US


Dec 12 12 12:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matt Forma
Posts: 373
Denver, Colorado, US


BTHPhoto wrote:
I wish people on MM could find something to argue about.

Manufactured outrage! The most popular pastime in the west!

Dec 12 12 12:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan Dozer
Posts: 564
La Quinta, California, US


To the OP - you  might try getting in touch with David Pollack #103229.  He does dag's and knows quite a lot about it.
Dec 17 12 08:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darkroom Art
Posts: 638
JOBSTOWN, New Jersey, US


Studio 37 West 1 wrote:
What ever you do DON"T DON"T heat mercury in the darkroom like I diid. I spent a week in the hospital. No joke I almost died. Build a fuming box first and do it outside. Darkroom exhaust vents are not enough!!!!!

The whole process is in the book "keepers of the light" Don't remember the author. Sub the Vinegar for salt water (fixer) works better.

After all I went though I'm ready to do it again, But don't tell my wife.

Keep in touch, Jon

You have someone watching over you. Very lucky.

Dec 17 12 08:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,364
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


DG at studio47 wrote:
google? start here...............

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daugerreotype

I posted the above link on page one of this thread. besides giving a very detailed overview of the process, there are over 200 click-able links regarding all aspects of the process as well as large archives of the images. some of the equipment used to make the images are rare antiques and very expensive to obtain--if you can even find them. I noticed that someone posted the MM number of a member here that actually does the images [David Pollack #103229]. My suggestion? do some homework.

Dec 17 12 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
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