Jonathan A Lewis Photography

Oct 31

Real Plates

Category: Plates

Mirror Image It’s time for real plates. Originally I got 4 6×6 plates of pure silver and in the course of my trials I have used 3. The fourth plate has a big dent in it and since I’m not fond of dents in my images I’m going to put it aside… for now.

A while back when I was in New York visiting my girlfriend I was lucky enough to be introduced to an old daguerreotypist by the name of Harvey Zucker. During the course of our meeting (of which I’ll talk more about in a subsequent post) he gave me a couple of his old quarter plates to play with. So far I have just used them as an example of a good polish with the exception of one plate. I exposed that one for my normal amount and it came out very over exposed. I’m guessing it’s because his polish is so much better than mine… or I sensitized it differently… or the moon was on the wrong side of the sky. It’s hard to attach an absolute cause to a bad plate. Though I solely attribute luck to my good plates.

So instead of using all the plates I have been given, I want to make my own. Harvey’s plates work very well and I want to keep them unused until I can duplicate their perfection.

Last week I got some copper from a local jewelers supply to polish and have plated. Easier said than done. The copper was so rough that I used my father’s buffing machine, which is much more powerful than mine, with a rubberized wheel to try to smooth the plates out. After about 5 or so hours I packed them up and brought the home for some more buffing. Upon closer inspection they still had major scratches and lots of little holes across the surface. I put those plates aside as well.

Today I ordered new copper plates from a print making supply company (suggested by daguerreotypist Jonathan Danforth) that are supposed to be fairly polished to begin with. I’m hoping this will alleviate my copper woes. If all goes well I should have some brand new quarter plates in a couple weeks!

Happy Halloween!

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