Jonathan A Lewis Photography

Jan 23

Inaugural Plates and the New Era

I’ve been very busy with all things daguerreian the last few weeks. Unfortunately a lot of it is only indirectly related to my daguerreotypy. Alan Bekhuis, Andy Stockton, and I launched the redesigned and revamped resource for contemporary daguerreotypes: We took and and combined them into one, well organized, ever expanding website. In addition to the galleries, resources, and forum, we’ve added a wiki which promises to be an invaluable addition to the site and daguerreotypy in general. Check it out, it’s well worth a visit!

The copper plates I was polishing in the previous entry were sent off to the platers on Tuesday and I just got them back today. My very first silver plated copper daguerreotype plates! No more of those tiny pure silver plates, these are beefy 16 gauge copper quarter plates plated with a 1/2 mil. of fine silver. You could take someone out with one of these plates! Can you tell I’m excited? Anyway, I’m very pleased with the results. The plates look beautiful and with a 4 day turn around time (including 2 days in transit!) I just can’t complain.

As for cost, I have figured that they run about $20 each (excluding shipping). The copper cost me about $7 per plate and the plating came to around $13 each. Looking at the prices that people sell plates for on the forum I think it’s a pretty good deal. Mike Robinson was selling his clad sixth plates for $27.50 a piece and Eric Mertens was selling quarter plates for $35 a piece. Though if I had the extra money to spend I would certainly consider buying pre-made plates. Polishing the copper takes quite a bit of time and effort as does wrangling all the various materials and services together. Also, the plates that have been pre-made come from people who really know what they’re doing. My plates can’t make such a claim.

Thinking of people who really know what they’re doing, Jerry Spagnoli managed to get an amazing daguerreotype of the presidential inauguration! The screen capture above shows it but you really must see the larger version here.


2 Comments so far

  1. Andy Stockton January 24th, 2009 10:13 am

    More excellent progress and in spite of your many hours of work on I’m impressed. Where did you finally get your copper from? Renaissance? Did it have resist on the backside or was it plain?

    I am looking forward to your next daguerreotypes.

  2. Jon January 24th, 2009 11:07 am

    Yes, I got the copper from Renaissance. They kindly custom cut the 4×5 plates into quarter plates for me. The plates are pleasant to polish, much more so than the other copper I had gotten. If by resist you mean the green stuff on the back then yes, they did come with that. I sent them to Theta with the stuff still on and they said it had come off in their tanks and I’ll have to remove it before sending any more.

    I’m going to try a dag today, see how it goes…

    Thanks for stopping by!