20th Century Dag

This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Sean Culver 8 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #7246


    Over the years I have heard the occassional story of folk in the C20th pursuing the process in isolation (in the sense that before the internet and the Daguerreian Society, Daguerreotypists finding each other to share info would have been difficult). I am reminded of what Grant Romer once said when I was studying at the Eastman House – Since the invention of the process there has always been someone, somewhere working with the process.

    Recently at the annual Bierves photo fair south of Paris, I meet a photo dealer by the name of Dominique Thomas who had first hand knowledge of the Daguerretype process. In the 1950’s he had labored and finally produced an image, a self portrait. Years later his wife was showing it to someone and thought it looked dirty so wiped the unhoused plate… creating a "lost daguerreotype" in the process.

    There are accounts of 20th century dag’ers in the record – see the quoted forum post by Walter Johnson below (any more references to these would be welcome here), but does anyone have any undocumented accounts of last century endeavor to add? I think it happened maybe more than most of us would expect. The galleries page of these sites would welcome images of such feats.

    Hello my name is Walter Johnson and I had started to collect Photographica in 1965 and still at it, but at a very much smaller pace. Offered a job at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in 1968 and on Nov. 1968 was to host the first conference to bring attention to the collection of photographic objects. Mr. Beaumont Newhall had come as our key speaker; please check The Daguerreian Society Newsletter, May/June 2006 for the full story.
    Dec. of that year the Ohio Camera Collectors Society was formed and I served as the first president. While at OSU things were to change quickly for the Dept. of Photography and Cinema with the introduction of classes teaching the History of Photography; the 502 class was well received and I became the instructor 1969. My questions about all the 19th century photo processes then were insistent and I felt that I must undertake to try my hand at the Daguerreotype process quickly. I did have several early volumes that contained information and instructions as the making of Daguerreotypes, and after many failed efforts 1969, I did finely made my first image the fall of 1970. The Daguerreian Society was started with the publishing of The New Daguerreian Journal, Aug, 1971, with Vol. 1, No.1, and continued untill July, 1975. Designed with the original journal in mind, the NDJ was to include a ton of information on/or about historic people, process, and cameras and other related tools used to make Daguerreotypes. I also wanted to encourge the use of the Daguerreotype process for modern images, and would show as many new images as possible, the image of Chris Duckworth made on a front surface mirror is a great example; Vol.3 No.1.
    Please enjoy reading my account of Prof. Simon Alexander Wooley in the OSU classroon in the Sept./Oct. 2006 issue of theDaguerreian Society Newsletter.
    I’m always open to any and all ideas about the making of Daguerreotypes or any other 19th century photo process; be safe and enjoy.
    Walter Johnson




    I do not know if this helps but I did notice an article by Grant Romer in the bibliography for the Kilgo book on Thomas Easterly. It was titled something like "The Daguerreotype in American and England after 1860" Published in the History of Photography 1 sometime in the 1970’s ( I do not have the exact reference with me at this time). I have not located the article yet but possibly it has references to persons of interest practicing in the 20th C.


    Jon Lewis

    I pulled this reference from the Daguerreian Society’s Survey of Daguerreian Literature: The Contemporary Daguerreotype

    Romer, Grant B. "The Daguerreotype in America and England after 1860." History of Photography 1, #1 (July 1977), pp. 201-212. Very important article dealing primarily with M.J. Steffens, Charles Tremear, Ray Phillips, and Irving Pobboravsky but also reproducing daguerreotypes by Romer and Harvey Zucker.

    Thanks for the tip! I’m going to see if I can track it down…


    Here’s a New York Times article about a contemporary artist (Adam Fuss) working with dagurerreotypes:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h … sec=&spon=

    I was surprised by the size mentioned (20×24). Wow.


    Jon Lewis

    I chased down Romer’s article and it’s a fascinating read! As the title suggests, he traces the practice of daguerreotypy the decline of it’s popularity through to the 1970s. It’s amazing that someone has always been interested in the process. Though I think there are more daguerreotypists now than any time since the end of the daguerreian era.

    If anyone wants a copy of the article send me an email or a private message…

    Andy – I’ve run across a couple references to David Burder (a stereo photographer) who created a 24×48 daguerreotype in 2003. I believe it was a Becquerel dag and it’s supposed to have been a world record though I haven’t found enough info to really verify the whole thing.


    Amazing. 24×48! I’m having trouble deciding on a polishing method to do a sixth plate! There are so many different choices and so little agreement on methods. Have you made a choice yet?


    Jon Lewis

    It’s a bit off topic though polishing does seem to find it’s way into every aspect of daguerreotypy <img src=” title=”Wink” />

    I’m going to go with the hotly debated random orbital sander, silk velvet, and rouge method. I’d rather use a more traditional buffing paddle with buckskin but I don’t have the equipment to build one right now and I’m itching to get some plates in the camera. The random orbital sander will just work better for me at this point and I’ll just have to make it work.



    Indeed David Burder did make the worlds largest dag. It was shown on the BBC programme ‘What The Victorians Did For Us’. He is a very nice, incredibly bright man , he came to the private view of my London show last month.He is also the worlds’ authority on 3D imaging.


    Jon Lewis

    If I had been a bit smarter I would have realized that in the resources section there is an account of David Burder’s daguerreotypy. Included is his Big Bertha 24×48 daguerreotype equipment. He also played with color daguerreotypes as well as lenticular! I need to sit down and read it more carefully but I have to get to work before I’m any later than I already am!



    Does anyone know anything about these items, I’ve seen them on ebay before and wonder if some 20th century daguerreotypist was actually making them, maybe copy dags of prints or is it just the terminology being borrowed?






    Sean Culver

    Yes, I heard about these from Jerry S. who has a great story about the Baseball Daguerreotypes, which are not daguerreotypes at all. I’ll let him tell you his story.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Return to the Top