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The Daguerreotype: A Contemporary Approach
July 31 - August 6, 2011

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The daguerreotype was the first successful photographic process, with the discovery being announced in 1839. During the course this hands-on workshop in Santa Fe, we travel back in time to make use of the same materials and the same techniques in use during the age of the daguerreotype. Come with us on an adventure that starts with the dawn of photography.

We cover two methods of exposing the plate. First, we try the traditional method, using the plate in-camera to produce a direct positive. Then we learn about the alternative to “live” exposures: contact printing from a positive transparency. This method can produce an image indistinguishable from an in-camera plate—but with greater control over the film positive, can provide superior results. Along with these methodologies, we learn about the historical context of the daguerreotype, as Jerry presents representative images and relevant information from the 1840s and 1850s.

If you shoot with a view camera, bring it along. We use 3x4 inch plates, which fit easily into a 4x5 holder. If you plan to use film, bring your negatives and find out how to produce film positives for the daguerreotype. We also consider how you want to present your finished piece. Matting and framing a daguerreotype deprives it of its charm, so Jerry demonstrates how to make display cases as one of the many possible installation options.

Join a contemporary master of the historic daguerreotype in the beautiful setting of Santa Fe and explore the technical and artistic nuances of this time-honored technique.

© Jerry Spagnoli
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