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Daguerreotypes and the Popularization of Photography

This is the second articles in a series I am writing for The PonF Camera Project. You can find the original post here.

Daguerreotypes and the Popularization of Photography

In our previous entry we looked at Nicéphore Niépce and his Heliograph, View from the Window at Le Gras. This entry focuses on his business partner Louis Daguerre. Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was born on 18 November 1787 in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, Val-d’Oise, France. He was trained as an Architect, but was known for his skill at theatrical illusion and diorama painting. His fascination began when he used a camera obscura to aid in the painting of his large Diorama Paintings for his theater. When he partnered with Nicéphore Niépce, his mind was always on the money-making potential of the medium of photography. In 1833 Nicéphore Niépce suddenly died, leaving all of his notes to Louis Daguerre. Daguerre would all but abandon the bitumen-based photographic process they had been working on in favour of a silver-based proces…
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The First Photograph...

This is the first in a series of articles I've written for The PonF Camera Project on the history of the photographic process. You can find the original post here.
The First Photograph
View from the Window at Le Gras Nicéphore Niépce, 1826

This is the oldest surviving photograph made by a camera. It is called is a Heliograph and it was produced in 1826 by Nicéphore Niépce. This image is the manually enhanced version made by historian Helmut Gernsheim in 1952. The actual plate looks like this (The dimples were caused by damage sometime after 1952):

Niépce’s other pioneering work included the invention of the Heliogravure, a process used to copy drawings and engravings. He worked with Louis Daguerre perfecting many photographic processes like the Physautotype.  Niépce and his brother Claude invented the Pyréolophore, the world’s first internal combustion engine.
View from the Window at le Gras was created by dissolving Bitumen of Judea in Lavender oil and brushing it onto a pewter plate. …

Why I am involved with PonF

Over the last 15-20 years there have been many attempts to merge traditional film photography with digital. The one that I remember most clearly was a company called EFilm. The idea was to have a digital sensor attached to a memory capture device that would fit into a film camera. It looked like 35mm film canister, with the sensor sitting over the image plane.There were other ideas out there like this, some turned out to be hoaxes, but the idea that we could have both digital and film in one unit really stuck with me.

I have making photographs for 30 or so years. My work has been a mix of both analogue and digital. I’ve shot nearly every film format from sub-miniature Minox, to 10x12 Glass plate negative. Over the last 3 ½ years I have been working nearly exclusively with the Wetplate Collodion process. What this has taught me is that image making is less about the process and more about the image itself.
Several months ago I contacted Rafaello Palandri on Instagram. He was creating a n…

Between Dreams and Wakefulness...

There is a small window of time between dreaming and wakefulness when anything can happen. The day before you is pure, untainted and full of possibilities. The worries of the previous days have not yet fallen upon you.
It is a state of bliss.
When I was young I believed that during this magical time, I could wish myself to wake anywhere.
I often wished to wake up in the small bedroom of my Grandmother’s house, the Burnt Umber curtains casting a warm glow in the morning light, giving me the hope that all could be right with the world.
Every once in a great while, I’d open my eyes and actually be there in my Grandmother’s house. The sense of relief and accomplishment was immeasurable. I would smile the biggest smile I could and close my eyes, hoping I could wake up there all over again.
Sometimes it was a dream, but sometimes it was reality.
As I got older, this magical ability seemed to move to the area just outside my vision and perception, fading into a haze of impossibility.

That magic…

Fireworks: The Process of Making a Music Video Part 12 The Big Finish

The last of the footage is now ingested and rendered.  The synch is working a little better, but the issue is the image itself. Some of the sequences are drifting in and out of focus. 
At first, I thought it might have been the scans from LomoLab, but, upon close inspection, the individual grains of the film were sharp, so it must have been the seating of the film in the camera. It could have had something to do with the speed of the hand cranking not allowing the film to seat itself properly. I was cranking pretty fast this whole project, though and this issue didn’t present itself until shortly after I switched camera backs. It’s an intermittent problem, so I may be wrong.
I’m relieved to have enough usable footage to finish the video, so its not a huge problem and the main vocal section with the affected footage is in the middle of the video, so I can cut around it and the fluttering focus becomes another part of the Lo-Fi aesthetic. After talking with Kyle about it, he was in fav…

Fireworks: The Process of Making a Music Video... Part 11

Let the edit begin!
This is proving more challenging than I first thought.
After Jack Quick at LomoLab worked out a few issues, the footage from Day 1 is looking really great. In order to get rid of the choppy, jumpy nature of the first pass, we came up with the idea of disregarding the half-frames, losing 1 of every four frames in the end. The new workflow is working and the footage is much smoother now, so Big Thanks to Jack.
There was a roll of 160VC that was a couple of stops underexposed. The semi-automated process at LomoLab just couldn’t find the frames. I ended up re-rendering the MP4 from the film scans myself, using (of all things) Canon’s DPP RAW converter software. It has a trimming function that made this tedious process a bit more streamlined. There were a few other rolls that I re-rendered to get rid of jumps when the camera would skip a frame or two.
The first attempt with this was a couple of macro shots of the costume. I had taped a +10 diptor to the LomoKino lens and ho…

Fireworks: The Process of Making a Music Video... Part 10

Day 5:
41 Rolls shot today.
On our last day we ventured out to The Lighthouse. The walk was great. The location was amazing. It was a great way to end the shoot.
The sky was bright blue and nearly cloudless. The remaining rolls of Portra 400 would more than likely have been overwhelmed with a 3-stop overexposure if not for the Polarizer filter that I taped on the front of the LomoKino. 1 2/3 stop worth of light that I didn’t have to worry about.
I grabbed a couple of wide shots while Kyle and Lesley-Anne got ready. The barnacle covered volcanic rock is going to look amazing on film. The small patches of grass and little purple flowers that carved out an existence in the little hollows of the rock added some unexpected color to the scene.
The Sun gave us a nearly perfect side light. Kyle sat on a set of concrete steps in front of the lighthouse. The names of several kids who’d made the journey before us littered the wall behind him. Brilliant.
We opted for a nonlinear shot sequence instead…