A Young Man
Photograph - Digital Photography
This particular work is a photograph of a daguerreotype in an old leather case that I found in an antique shop. I wondered who this young man was, who loved him, who did he love. Someone treasured him, enough to have a picture of him, enough to keep his picture.
Images and textures have been layered to create a composite art print of a original photograph.
The daguerreotype process, introduced in 1839, was the first publicly announced photographic process and the first to come into widespread use. By the early 1860s, later processes which were less costly and produced more easily viewed images had almost entirely replaced it. A small-scale revival of daguerreotypy among photographers interested in historical processes was already evident during the 1980s and 1990s and has persisted into the 2010s.
The daguerreotype image was formed on a highly polished silver surface, normally a layer of silver clad onto a thin copper plate. The silver was exposed to iodine fumes (usually followed by similar exposure to bromine and chlorine), which produced a light-sensitive silver halide coating on its surface. The plate was then carried to the camera in a light-tight plate holder. Exposure to the image formed by the camera lens produced an invisible latent image on the plate, which could be developed to visibility by exposing the plate to fumes from heated mercury. After development, the light sensitivity of the plate was arrested by removing the remaining silver halide with a mild solution of sodium thiosulfate or a hot saturated solution of common salt. To give the image a warmer tone and physically reinforce the powder-like silver particles of which it was composed, a gold chloride solution was pooled onto the image and the plate was briefly heated over a flame, then drained, rinsed and dried. Even after this gilding treatment, the image surface was very delicate and the silver was subject to tarnishing from exposure to the air, so the plate needed to be kept in a glazed and sealed enclosure.
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January 1st, 2014
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