Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Daguerreian Society, alternately titled, I Score at the Trade Show

The annual meeting of The Daguerreian Society took place this Wednesday-Sunday in Philadelphia. This was fantastic, as they hosted a day of lectures, several of which were given by conservators. The people in the Daguerreian Society are kind of crazy - everyone who is really into daguerreotypes always is - and are mostly dealers and collectors mixed with a few artists and conservators.

I took one of my research days to attend the all-day Friday symposium. The next day, Saturday, was the trade show and auction. Though I am being paid in Real Money these days, I certainly don't have enough to participate in an auction and to attempt to purchase important things. However, I decided to go to the trade show to check out what was being offered.

All photograph conservators have study collections: examples of the different photographic processes, strange things, or interesting damages. I had no daguerreotypes or ambrotypes in my study collection, and I was hoping to score some cheap ones (who cares if they have some damages - that would be more intersting) at the trade show. Incedentially, I was going through my study collection about a week ago and I have a load of tintypes. Daguerreotypes are more expensive now than they were twenty years ago, so I gave myself a budget and crossed my fingers.

Most of the stuff there was really expensive, and I wanted say to some of the dealers, "Seriously? $35 for a cabinet card? $6,000 for this daguerreotype? Are you out of your mind?" But I looked carefully and chose wisely and smiled big and chatted with the dealers and scored some good stuff.

An unmounted albumen print. This one used to have hand coloring (you can see it along the right edge) but it faded.

Another albumen print: photographs were often made of paintings and sculpture and used in art history classes. (This is one of those.)

An opaltype! In a case that used to be mauve velvet - oh those Victorians... An opaltype is a photograph, either a silver gelatin or carbon print, on a piece of milk glass. I'm pretty pleased with this.

An ambrotype. The case is broken, but I can fix that. I have a Master of Science in this stuff.

Another ambrotype: a ruby ambrotype!

A daguerreotype! The glass is dirty and there is some tarnish but whatever.

Another daguerreotype! No case with this one, but I'd rather have no case than one that is missing the lid.

Yet another daguerreotype! This one is a little dark with tarnish but with some hand coloring (like on the table cloth). But awesome!

Success. The study collection has been added to and I came in a bit under the $250 budget. I feel like I should win a prize or something.


Mum said...

Looks like you scored some great finds! They look pretty awesome to me. I'm impressed.

Lea said...

So, what does one DO with these? I'm just curious.

Jessica said...

Use them for teaching as examples of the process and/or deteriorations, treatment experiments, and because they're cool. I feel pretty much set for life now with these guys.

Lea said...

I see. Excellent shopping then! See you soon!