Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Quicksilver Tongues of Memory-Daguerreotypes' Slightly Sinister, Decadent Draw

da·guerre·o·type noun \də-ˈge-rō-ˌtīp, -rə-; -ˈger-ō-, -ə- also də-ˈge-rē-ō-ˌtīp, -ˈger-ē-\


: an early photograph produced on a silver or a silver-covered copper plate; also : the process of producing such photographs
— daguerreotype transitive verb
— da·guerre·o·typ·ist  noun
— da·guerre·o·typy  noun
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French daguerréotype, from L. J. M. Daguerre + French -o- + type
First Known Use: 1839
Other Pictures (on film) Terms:
emulsion, fill, sepia, still, stop

Rhymes with DAGUERREOTYPE: electrotype, Indian pipe, somatotype, stereotype

First successful form of photography. It is named for Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, who invented the technique in collaboration with Nicéphore Niépce. They found that if a copper plate coated with silver iodide is exposed to light in a camera, then fumed with mercury vapour and fixed (made permanent) by a solution of common salt, a permanent image is formed. The first daguerreotype image was produced in 1837, by which time Niépce had died, so the process was named for Daguerre. Many daguerreotypes, especially portraits, were made in the mid-19th century; the technique was gradually replaced by the wet collodion process, introduced in 1851.

As I stumbled rather blindly through the digital ether sourcing personal favorites in my secretly fanatical passion for daguerreotypes, I came across a truly invaluable group of persons; The Daguerreian Society, an international association of what appears to be a lovely mish mash of amateur historians, photographers, curators, science buffs, chemistry pupils, artists, and simply folk who have found themselves captivated by the certain indefinable charms of this exceedingly difficult art form. To me, even the very notion that one is trapping any kind of spiritual, emotional, physical, or merely a resemblance of an individual within the fluidly fantastical mercury is alluring. Somehow each time I gaze at a Dag, I'm transported to the poetry salons of Paris, the opium dens and hashish parlors and velvet lined Absinthe bars dripping with gilt, and guilt. Irresistible. As is this hilarious blogger of My Daguerreotype Boyfriend; which shows ONLY super hot (their words!) old timey goodness.

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