Here are a few gems from my collection:
Daguerreotypes are notoriously difficult to photography because it is in essence an image etched into a metal mirror, so please forgive the reflections. Some of the more posh photography studios hired artists to paint the images to give them a more life-like look.
The reason I like Daguerreotypes is complicated, but here are a few reasons off the top of my head.
- It's the first type of photography
- Each photo is unique, there's no negative
- There is a very high level of skill needed by the photographer to make a Daguerreotype, requiring hours of patience, manual labor and attention to detail to make a plate
- The copper plate I hold in my hand was in some photography studio 150 years ago, inside a camera pointing at the person or people pictured. Its a direct link.
- Even in its nascent stages photography was undeniably an art form, this is the proof.
It was in a beautiful Thermoplastic Case (incidentally the artwork is a copy of Sir Roger de Coverly and the Gypsies by Thomas Stothard):
And it was a quarter plate size (3.25" by 4.25") with excellent image quality and very little damage, dated 1857 in the case under the photo:
I made the vendor an (lowball) offer he couldn't refuse and we both walked away happy. It was an impulse buy, but it was still a small price to pay for a truly one of a kind masterpiece.