Aug 24 2014
There is no question that making daguerreotypes involves working with hazardous materials. Even Becquerel, the safer process, involves elemental iodine, a corrosive substance that produces fumes that can cause tissue damage when inhaled. The Mercury process adds the even more challenging materials mercury and bromine. The hazardous nature of these substances is the reason we carry out daguerreotype work inside a fume hood and take careful precautions to contain the chemicals safely when stored. Simply storing these substances safely can present serious challenges.
I recently had the opportunity to visit master daguerreotypist Jerry Spagnoli in his studio in New York City. In addition to the privilege of seeing some of his beautifully crafted and compelling daguerreotypes in person, I had the pleasure of an extended conversation with Jerry on a wide range of subjects concerning daguerreotypes, the art world and the craft itself. It was during that conversation that Jerry mentioned the method that he uses to store his mercury when not in use. Continue Reading »