Jonathan A Lewis Photography

Jan 4

A New Year

DagThe holidays are finally over and the new year has begun. The image on the left is a daguerreotype taken during the last sunset of 2008. The fancy circular mat was made with a circular paper cutter on some heavy black paper. This is the fourth keeper of 2008 out of eleven exposures. It is also my first successful outside shot. ‘Successful’ being defined by the fact that I’m keeping it. It could have used a little less exposure but I like it none the less. I especially like the backwards numbers. Life always looks better in a mirror, doesn’t it?

My goal for 2009 is 100 keepers but I hope it ends up being more. On New Years Day I made two more keepers, that’s 2% of my goal. I took one of my girlfriend for me and one of me for her. They have yet to be scanned but I think they came out well. Only a minute exposure and I just couldn’t stand still. I got two more 2 3/8″ square plates from Santa Fe Jewelers supply for the shoot. According to their computer I had gotten 26 gauge fine plate silver but they sure seemed a lot thinner to me this time around. Perhaps I’ll get 24 gauge next time. My dad gave me 50 cents to try a sterling silver plate. We’ll see where that goes.

I get paid on the 16th and I hope to have my copper quarter plates polished and ready to plate by then. While my girlfriend was in town the weather was good enough to polish but now that she’s gone it’s gotten cold again. Perhaps I’ll polish a plate a day in the cold. I discovered that there’s a cellar type place beneath my apartment that has a couple of benches and has electricity. My girlfriend is convinced there are zombies but I’ve been down there a couple of times now and have found no evidence of their mischeif. I think it’ll be a good place to polish since I can do so after work when it’s dark out.

I got some new buffing wheels while at SFJS. They’re muslin wheels like I had but this time they’re 3″ instead of 5″ and they’re more gentle on the silver. I got a green compound that I’m using after the rouge for a final polish which also seems to help. I’m trying to keep it simple and not get too caught up with the millions of compounds and wheels. I did get a sample pack of polishing paper that range from 400 to 8000 grit. I haven’t played with any of it yet but perhaps they’ll be of some use.

Another 2009 goal is to start selling daguerreotypes. That’ll help alleviate some of the financial strain that comes from such an absurd (yet divine) form of photography. Naturally I live in one of the few places where there is already a daguerreotypist operating. I’ll have to come up with a way of differentiating my dags from his and hopefully make a little money.

In other news, Andy Stockton, a fellow daguerreotypist in the making, has posted a day by day list of his activities and acquisitions in the pursuit of daguerreotypy. It’s a fantastic resource and I need to go though day by day and see what I can learn. If only I could have been so organized…


2 Comments so far

  1. Andy Stockton January 5th, 2009 7:47 am

    Hi Jon-
    Happy new year. I stand in awe of your goal of 100 keepers for 2009! I was mulling stating publicly that I would take my first daguerreotype this year but was kind of waffling. 🙂

    Where did you get your sample pack of polishing paper? I am looking for a good source.

    BTW – let me know if you still think I am organized after you read my list in Dag Diary. I could use a laugh.

    Keep up the good work, it is very inspiring.

  2. Jon January 5th, 2009 7:41 pm

    Hey Andy, if you see my latest images, you’ll see I have some pretty loose standards when it comes to keepers.

    You’ll make your first image when you’re ready. In taking your time, you’re building a better foundation than I have.

    The pack of polishing paper I got from Santa Fe Jewelers supply. It’s a 3M Micron Polishing Paper Kit. They’re just down the street from me but I’d image you could find some at a jewelery store near you. If you have problems getting some let me know and I’ll send you a pack, they’re pretty cheap.

    I’m excited to see where you go next in your Castle Daguerre.