Daguerreotypes, as you may or may not know, are one of the oldest photographic techniques. Their invention in 1800s led to our present day inundation with photographic imagery. The process is fascinating and to me more magical that any other process. Not being a big believer in magic, I took it upon myself to figure out how to produce an image on a silver plate.
The plates I have made were produced using the Becquerel process. It yields a slower less sensitive plate, but it does not require a mercury development step like traditional daguerreotype. It’s a little safer. Setting up to make daguerreotypes requires some reading and custom fabrication of a few tools. I made an iodine fuming box and some flannel covered buffing paddles. It was also necessary to modify a 4×5″ film holder to hold my 3×4″ plates.
Daguerreotypes are a little expensive to get into, and everything is special ordered from somewhere. I do want to do another run of them in the near future. It has mostly been a summer endeavor for me, they exposures are much to long indoors and winter sun is not reliable to bright enough in Wisconsin, that and it’s really cold. On a mid summer day when the sun is bright (ev 19-20) an exposure is a reasonable length of time (like a minute or two).
The equipment pictured in the gallery is all custom made from designs I found on other daguerreotype sites. This is one of those techniques that benefits from having some woodworking skills.
Check back to my blog for more more info about daguerreotypes. I plan to produce more in the near future.