I’m thrilled to announce that two works by a brilliant Japanese daguerreotypist (and the man who taught me how to do daguerreotypes) have been acquired by the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
I couldn’t find links to the images in question that were acquired by the Smithsonian, so I’m linking to two related images from his website.
A Maquette for a Multiple Monument for Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
2014, Daguerreotype, 67x280cm
The Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima
2014, Daguerreotype, 25.2×19.3cm
This is a reminder that the submission deadline for Rendering The Spirit: The Personal Image in Alternative Media is less than a week away, on February 21.
Photoworks is a non-profit photographic arts and education center in Glen Echo, Maryland. Last year was their 40th anniversary, and as part of the ongoing celebrations and future vision for Photoworks, we are launching a new program to provide visibility and accessibility to historic/alternative processes and artists working in these media. Rendering The Spirit is the kickoff event to highlight this programming.
Works to be considered must be made using an alternative/historic process, including but not limited to lumen prints, daguerreotypes, gum bichromate, tintypes/ambrotypes/melainotypes, platinum/palladium, kallitypes, Van Dyke Brown, cyanotypes, carbon prints, calotypes, salt prints, albumen prints, bromoil, gumoil or some combination of the above. Silver Gelatin prints on machine-made commercial papers are not accepted. Original capture of the image can be from in-camera negatives or digital capture or some combination thereof, but the final image must be a physical object made using one or more historical processes.
Also include an artists statement, brief bio and an explanation of the work(s). All required documents (JPEGS, Artist statement/bio/explanation of works) should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than February 21st. Notifications will be sent by email to all selected artists by March 1. Works must be received by March 14. The opening reception will be held on March 26.
Render (v): to distill, to cook down to its essence, to translate, to represent.
Rendering: an act of bringing into being, of distillation, of translation, of representation.
By aiming our gaze at works created using “alternative” processes, we aim to show the diversity of work being created at this nexus of the 19th and 21st centuries and engage in a dialog about what it means to create work using anachronistic techniques.
Scott Davis is a faculty member at Photoworks where he teaches alternative processes, portraiture and studio lighting. He received formal training at Maryland Institute, College of Art. His specialty is platinum/palladium printing, and he is an avid collector of 19th century photography. He has exhibited his personal work locally, nationally and internationally, and has served as curator at the former Art Reactor Gallery in Hyattsville.
Malcolm Cosgrove-Davies is a self-taught photographer who since 1978 has been practicing historic photographic processes including gum bichromate, cyanotype, VanDyke, palladium, and carbon printing. Mac’s images derive from his extensive travel to developing countries as well as everyday life. Using antique and hand-made film cameras in various large & panoramic formats he seeks to match the image to the beauty and elegance of the selected photographic process. In addition to building the occasional camera, printing frame or other useful photographic gadget, he also creates books and presentation portfolios for his prints. He is represented in various collections such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Library of Congress, Maier Museum, and Lehigh University Art Galleries.
I’m feeling incredibly lazy this morning so I’m just going to let these photos speak for themselves. These are various scenes from around Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, which as I mentioned in an earlier post, are a 30-ish acre park on the eastern bank of the Anacostia River in Washington DC. Part of the National Park system, Kenilworth is a generally un-heralded and underutilized public park, a true hidden gem of Washington. Part of what I like about visiting is the psychological tension of knowing that just outside the gates of the park is a truly rough urban environment in one direction, and major hustle and bustle in the other, but while you are in the park you have zero awareness of this – a veritable oasis of calm and quiet.
I was given a link to this article in Scientific American, about preservation issues and resolutions for Daguerreotypes. To read the entire article you need to subscribe to their website, or purchase the hard copy at a newsstand. The gist of it is that there seems to be a problem with displaying Daguerreotypes where they are under significant continuous exposure to light, and it has to do with the way they were made. With exposure to light and oxygen, a reaction occurs on the surface of the image that begins to form a whitish fog on the plate. The long-term solution appears to involve sealing the images in an argon-filled frame. The short-term solution, or for those who don't have the budget of a major museum's conservation department, is to keep them in dark storage when not actively engaged in viewing the image(s) and to severely restrict exposure to light when on view.