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.The exhibit is very attractive,  well lit, and the opening was well attended.  I didn’t count but by my estimate there were works on display from 25 living daguerreotypists.  Sadly, my own submission was lost in transmission but I’ll make sure to do it right next year!  This is the largest assemblage of daguerreotypes from contemporary artists since the exhibition in Bry-sur-Marne in 2009.

Following the reception at the Terminus a group of contemporary daguerreotypists peeled off for some dinner.  I was pleased to finally meet Binh Danh and Curtis Wehrfritz in person.  Indeed, I was truly humbled by the talent that surrounded me at that table that also included contemporary Daguerreian luminaries (if you’ll pardon the pun) Eric Mertens, Jillian Pichocki, Mike Robinson, Sean Culver, and Jerry Spagnoli.

Late nights at the Daguerreian Symposiums always include hopping from room to room of the hotel for trading, selling, and some truly heroic drinking.  I set up camp in the room shared by Ken Nelson and Mike Robinson where I explained to anyone who would listen all about my daguerreotypes, cases, casemaking supplies, and more.  I brought with me a big box of goodies including leather, half-finished cases, and daguerreotypes.  The room didn’t see fewer than 10 people at a time until at least 1:00 in the morning when I finally gave in to exhaustion.

Saturday is the day of the Trade Fair which for many is the main reason for attending.  After a brief breakfast with Doug Scougale and Jill Pichoki I made my way into the trade fair and began scouring the tables for beautiful trinkets to buy. There are thousands of daguerreotypes available to buy and they range from $20 to greater than $12,000.

I was on a mission to buy cases for careful analysis of their latching mechanisms. I bought three cases (without images inside) each featuring a different style clasp. More on these in a later post.

The pinnacle event for the Symposium is the benefit auction and banquet. The silent auction had some interesting pieces including a daguerreotype housed in one of my early cases! The banquet was well attended. Many of the contemporary daguerreotypists in attendance sat together at the raucous kids’ table but we minded our manners.

The live auction brought in a respectable amount of money for the society and I even bought a lithograph of the Brady Daguerreian saloon in New York. I was pleased to see that the pieces donated by contemporary daguerreotypists were furiously bid upon.  Indeed the top-earner for the night was a triptych of whole plates shot in prior Daguerreian Symposium host cities by Mike Robinson.

Saturday night again concluded with room hopping. I set up camp in the hospitality suite and was joined by many more people interested in my daguerreotypes and cases. As the evening wound down I even managed to speak at length and into the wee hours with Matt Isenberg about his collection of daguerreotypes and paraphernalia.

I’ll be back next year for sure.

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One Response to The 2010 Daguerreian Symposium

  1. Li Junyi says:

    Hi Jonathan, glad to hear you all have good time in the society’s Symposium.wish i will have a chance to join you.I think someday I would fly over half of a world to have good time with all of you there.

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