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BCA News: Winter 2019

A Modern Day Daguerreotypist

The Institute of Photographic Technology (Inc.) in Melbourne, Australia, were privileged to have New York artist Jerry Spagnoli, a modern day Daguerreotypist give a presentation to the membership at their last general meeting.

Jerry Spagnoli lives and works in New York City. Currently he is working on several projects including two ongoing historical documentation series, “Local Stories” and “The Last Great Daguerreian Survey of the Twentieth Century”. The common thread among all his projects is the exploration of the interplay between information and knowledge. Taking the camera and photosensitive materials as the traditional standard for objectivity, Spagnoli explores the ways that subjectivity is the inevitable basis of all knowledge.

Feet © Jerry Spagnoli

The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process. This positive one-of-a-kind image, with its mystic silver mirror effect, is still fascinating after 180 years. Jerry works with the Becquerrel method that only requires light to develop the image avoiding the dangerous elements of the traditional daguerreotype process.

Daguerreotype workshops are extremely rare. Due to his love of Australia, Jerry Spagnoli continues to venture down under every 2 years to gold street studios, Australia’s premier venue for alternative and historical photographic processes. Jerry is very generous in sharing his knowledge, and his passion for the daguerreotype medium is evident.

Jerry has continued in the great tradition of Thomas Easterly, arguably the first daguerreotype photojournalist. Jerry has managed to get into locations that most photographers can only dream of, including New York’s Times Square on the eve of the millennium. His documentary image of the ball drop at midnight with his very large camera and the anecdotal story that goes along with it demonstrates some of the many challenges he meets in following his passion. He is an inspiration.

Jerry’s work is held in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The National Portrait Gallery, The Nelson Atkins Museum, The Fogg Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The Chrysler Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The High Museum, The New York Historical Society and other major collections.

Building © Jerry Spagnoli

Read more about Jerry Spagnoli, his images and projects.

More information on Gold Street Studios.

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