The Daguerreian Society

December 3, 1997

Hello fellow daguerreotypists,

Daguerreotypes! I don't think anyone will quibble in that on this one day, in a stretch of a couple hours, you can see more daguerreotypes at the Daguerreian Society Tradefair than several lifetimes of flea markets, auctions, and antique shops. Stereos, scenes, nudes, full plates and all kinds of stuff found only in daguerreotype heaven. There we were, defending a table chocked full of contemporary work from the gnawing, clawing, bug-eyed masses intent on finding some overlooked gem. Yes, we sold a few. Ken was successful as was Jerry, Irving and yours truly.
    Irv could have sold his portrait of Grant ten times. It is so good, one guy asked him if he would do another one just like it--now I know Grant is good looking, but gee whiz, you'd think the guy would want one of his girl friend or wife or pet cat or something.
    In the category of daguerreotype as performance art, Jerry's decomposing composting composition sold. It is a rather handsome wooden box with a skylight on the top and a drawer on the bottom. The drawer contains a daguerreotype of a flower and the upper part of the box has a brass peep hole. On peering in, one sees what remains of the actual flower.
    Ken, when he wasn't hawking dags, sold T-shirts (The Official Daguerreotype Viewing Brand) and mouse pads (mouse pads?) both emblazoned, in gold on black, with a likeness of our patriarch and source of discouragement and woe: M. Daguerre. The pads are $10 and the shirts...I forget. Anyway, call Ken. He still has some.
    A visionary NYC dealer snapped up (and snapped on) an innovation of mine and has ordered a dozen more: A wearable daguerreotype of a bow tie--a.k.a. Daguerreotie. Keep an eye on the NY fashion scene.
    There were some new daggers in the crowd. Levon Register, II made an interesting entrance. He started his dagging career (really, just practicing) by making copies from books of some rather well known images. On the Metro ride to the hotel, he found himself amidst some society members and decided to get acquainted and show his stuff. The first person to view his dag of the Capitol Building was Matt Isenburg: "Nice image...I own it!" "Uh oh, does this mean I'm in trouble?" (No and Yes) Matt saw some humor in it and told the tale just prior to the first item to be auctioned--Levon's dag. Hhhhmmmm....
    John Hurlock, from near Chicago, did dagging in the 50s and 60s and has recently emerged from retirement. He has come up with a very clever way of developing with cold mercury that greatly reduces development time and had a stack of plates that demonstrated quality results. He is busy writing up the details and so look for that in the near future.
    Hillucinations or: dag-o'-the-wisp...poor Levi, much maligned and misunderstood. With some fast talking, I got to riffle through all 100 or so Hillotypes at the National Museum of American History in D.C.. And, you can add my name to the likes of Sam Morse, Root, Gurney, Whipple, Erastus Westcott, Hezekiaii Pettit and Jerry Spagnoli...dammit! I saw real color! Or, at least it seemed so--but then, the years have probably caused some fading. I'm sure back then (in that B&W world) the slightest tinge of the most deluded hue would send those of the highest continence scrambling like Henny Penny: "Color! I saw color!"

Happy Holidays,


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