Watching Someone Make Daguerreotypes Is Totally Mesmerizing

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To be honest, it's pretty clear why daguerreotypes got passed over for more flexible photographic processes. You put a crap ton of work, not to mention seriously dangerous chemicals, into an image that then can't be duplicated. But that doesn't mean they aren't amazing looking.

So artist and videographer Patrick Richardson Wright shot photographer Dan Carrillo's process for making daguerreotypes. And it's quite an affair. First Carrillo shines a silver-plated copper plate and uses iodine and bromine to sensitized the plate to light. Then he uses dark boxes to mount the plate in the camera so it can be exposed, which now takes less than a minute because of better lenses and chemical formulations. He develops the plate using mercury vapor and then fixes it in sodium thiosulfate. At the end he tints the photo with gold chloride.

There aren't very many things in this world that last that long. Especially in modern times where things are so disposable. Everything is just used and thrown out. So, in the digital realm, well, it's so easy to take a picture. It's so easy also to forget about it.


It took a workshop, a lot of hacking and two years for Carrillo to get his daguerreotype capabilities up and running. It's all gotta be a metaphor for something. Deep stuff. [PetaPixel]