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  1. #1

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    Modern Daguerreotype

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

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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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. #3
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Making of Daguerreotype
    by Takashi Arai

    You may find this eight-and-a-half minute video interesting.

    Ken
    "Hate is an adolescent term used to stop discussion with people you disagree with. You can do better than that."
    —'blanksy', December 13, 2013

  4. #4

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

  5. #5
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Mike Robinson, Toronto Daguerreotypist, makes some very cool accessories for heating mercury and presumably making it much safer.

    Check these out -> http://www.blackshadowyachts.com/centurydarkroom.html

    The Becquerel process sounds baffling... I need to check out those books.

  6. #6
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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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.
    K.S. Klain

  7. #7
    JG Motamedi's Avatar
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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.co...-daguerreotype

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

  8. #8

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

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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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

  10. #10

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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...

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