Soul Searching

I LOVE daguerreotypes.

I love teaching people about daguerreotypes. I love making little leather daguerreotype cases, hand embossing velvet, and polishing brass mats that I’ve cut myself. I love the chemistry, the science, the polishing, the little purpose-built tools necessary to do the job. I LOVE that stuff! I love the places I’ve gone! I love the people I have met through this passion. Artists, scientists, students, and other passionate admirers of daguerreotypy.

But my life is changing. It would be easy to just tell you that “I’m too busy” which, while ineffably true, is an insufficient synopsis. I am growing to love other things. I have reached the realization after much painful soul-searching that I have spread myself too thin and something’s gotta’ give. I’m not quitting daguerreotypes but, instead, I’m going to give it a rest for a while. Hanging up my top hat, as it were.

I can only focus on a handful of things and rather than being the jack of all trades I have decided to focus on only a few. Chiefly, these are commercial photography, time-lapse videography, and Maker Faire / Maker Faire North Carolina. Most importantly I want to be with my family more. I want to enjoy and grow with my son while he is still young. I want to enjoy my wife, hear her stories, learn and grow together, and appreciate her even more.

It’s not easy to write this. It hasn’t been easy reducing the lure of the mirror from my life. I hope you understand and I hope that this little collection of run-on sentences and poor punctuation gives you pause to consider your own passions.

Your friend,
Jonathan

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Rare Trades: Bookbinding

I stumbled across this video when reading the excellent site for The Institute of Backyard Studies. From my chair here I am looking out a window at my backyard shed where I do my gold finishing. It gives me pleasure to feel kinship with this woman on the other side of the globe.

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Happy Birthday, Daguerre!

Louis Daguerre Wearing his Party HatOn this date in 1787 the namesake of my preferred photographic medium was born. Happy birthday Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre! I’m more than a little disappointed that Google didn’t commemorate the event with a special version of their logo.

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The 2010 Daguerreian Symposium

The Daguerreian Society SignI returned last Sunday evening from the 2010 Daguerreian Symposium held this year in Atlanta, Georgia USA. This was my second Symposium and it didn’t disappoint. What a pleasure it was to be surrounded by friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in years!

Jillian Pichocki drove down from Virginia and then we carpooled down to Atlanta early Friday morning. We arrived just around noon sadly missing the morning session of presentations. The afternoon session had two presentations from Dr. Greg Wickliff and Bob Zeller.

Dr. Wickliff’s topic, John William Draper’s Experiments in Light, Photography, and Publishing was enlightening, academic, and scholarly. I learned rather a great deal about someone I had not know much about prior!

After a brief interval Bob Zeller dazzled the audience with a 3D projection presentation of exhaustively researched and reconstructed stereo views of the age of Lincoln. The program, Lincoln in 3-D, had well over 150 stereo images and was the most entertaining 3D presentation I’ve enjoyed (and I wasted $14 on Avatar complete with the same goofy glasses).

Following the presentations most of the 200-250 attendees retired to the hotel and supper.  On Friday evening there was a reception for the contemporary daguerreotypes exhibit sponsored by Jeff Green at the Terminus Building. Continue reading

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Let’s Talk About History

For years I’ve had the phrase “no top-hat policy” on my site and it has come to my attention that I have accidentally communicated an unintended message to an entire community of fascinating people and, indirectly, insulted their passion.

The paragraph on my site reads thus:

I’m an artist and I chose the Daguerreotype as my medium for many reasons. None of my reasons includes anything about dressing up in period clothing. I have a strict “no top-hats” policy.

I have tried over the years to be very careful with the daguerreotypes that I make to separate the medium from the message.  I chose to make daguerreotypes not for their historical significance but Continue reading

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