Modern Daguerreotype

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Jitterbug, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    Hello,
    I was wondering if anyone had ever tried Daguerreotype? Is hot mercury the only development method?

    Thank you.
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    You can do it with mercury, or you can do the Becquerel process - the Becquerel process involves no developing chemical, but instead the plate is re-exposed to full-spectrum light through a sheet of rubylith. You have to change your sensitization process if you plan to do Becquerel development. There are a number of books out there that have an extensive description of the process - the Christopher James book and "Coming Into Focus" by John Barnier are both good references.
     
  3. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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  4. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    My, that's quite a process. But the result is so very lovely. Is a special camera required?
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  6. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I just read a great description of the process from the late 1880s that was used without mercury. god knows if I can find it again in google books. lemme look.
     
  7. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    I regularly make Daguerreotypes and teach workshops at CAP in NYC.

    There are two alternatives to using hot mercury. The "Cold Mercury" method uses mercury at room temperature in a vacuum. It was developed in the 1980s or 90s by John Hurlock. The other method is the Becquerel, mentioned in a few 19th century texts, which uses a red or orange light to develop the plate. Lots of details at http://www.cdags.org/ or a brief summary of my Becquerrel process here: http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/processes/daguerrotypes/becquerel-daguerreotype

    And yes, it is a painfully difficult, expensive, and unpredictable process, but the results are worth it...
     
  8. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    How expensive is it, precisely? For a 1"X2" exposure, for example?
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    IIRC, a 4x5" plate by itself is about $40-$45 US. Not including the costs of the other chemistry and hardware required to do it safely - that stuff probably adds another $10-15 per plate. This is one reason I just collect originals now :smile:
     
  10. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    YIPE! That's rather expensive. But worth it I suppose. Then again, I have NO experience in these things, so regular film or the stuff in a bottle would be a better starting place. That way, if I flub, I won't go bankrupt...
     
  11. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Or die...

    Ken
     
  12. Kosta

    Kosta Member

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    the painful truth!
     
  13. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug Member

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    Oh, I forgot some of the materials are hazardous.



    You know, I'm starting to like this idea less and less (at least with My current experience)...
     
  14. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    Becquerel method isn't nearly as dangerous as the traditional mercury method, but elemental iodine can still cauterize your lungs or blind you. To be clear, making Daguerreotypes is very expensive, about $65 for each finished 4x5" plate. Cutting corners will only make a difficult process more difficult. If you have any doubts try something easy and cheap, like wet-plate collodion... (some irony intended)
     
  15. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I’ll admit that it continues to puzzle me why dry plate photography is lumped with the difficult, expensive, and dangerous processes. It is no more so than any other area of chemical photography – that is to say, about as dangerous as standard household cleaning products. I just made 70 sheets of 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 film for less than $10 in materials. I did wear nitrile gloves, and I did have the darkroom ventilation fan going when I had the bottle of ammonia open, but to tell the truth, I have a fan in my inkjet printer closet because the solvent fumes give me a headache.

    I haven’t finished working out the details, but I will be giving a free seminar late summer in Newport, Oregon, with hands-on demos (more or less, depending on the number of people attending.) Dry plate, artisan film and paper will all be covered.

    Peace, joy, and a good camera, and the best of fun and satisfaction no matter what your process!
    Denise
    www.thelightfarm.com
    http://www.thelightfarm.com/cgi-bin/htmlgen.py?content=19Feb2012
     
  16. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

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    Wow, Denise! That is great news. I have been meaning to contact you to see if you had any plans for workshops. Put me down for it. "If God and the cops be willing", I will be there.

    Dan
     
  17. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Dan,

    Hope you can make it! It would be great seeing you again. Vaughn doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to try to twist his arm into helping work out a negative (film and plate) density/contrast 'profile' that works for carbon printing. The one dry plate I printed with carbon looked so stunning, I'd love to see the idea go as far as it can.
    d
     
  18. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    I haven’t finished working out the details, but I will be giving a free seminar late summer in Newport, Oregon, with hands-on demos (more or less, depending on the number of people attending.) Dry plate, artisan film and paper will all be covered.

    I would love to come for this, keep us posted!
     
  19. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Most definitely!!
     
  20. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    It would be even better if you could in addition twist his other arm to repeat his carbon class in Newport at about the same time. That would make a fantastic vacation trip - first dryplate and then carbon class :salivating:

    Eugene.
     
  21. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    You're right! Most definitely a tasty idea! Poor Vaughn. He still doesn't know that at least one arm is in jeopardy.
     
  22. willrea

    willrea Subscriber

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    I'll try to make it down too
     
  23. Ken Nadvornick

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