Lawyers have a saying that “The devil’s in the details.” Meaning — be careful - because a tiny slipup can come back to bite you.
But the original saying was something else: “God is in the details.” That means… when you really get right down to something – when you burrow into it and root around and really learn as much as you can – you will get to the truth about it.
And so it is with daguerreotypes. Nothing convinced the people who viewed the very first photographs of their truthfulness more than the miracle of their tiny, perfect, details. Take a magnifying lens and you can see far into the distance of a daguerreotype scene.
Or do what the late Matthew Isenburg did, and capture microscopic details of his unsurpassed collection of Gold Rush daguerreotypes…and you can see far into the past…immersing your audience in the astonishing time machine quality of actually being present at a key moment in history.
Isenburg was a co-founder of The Daguerreian Society and our President for many years. His symposium talk showing just how much you can see in daguerreotypes, called “A Closer Look,” was one of the most electrifying presentations ever witnessed by members of the Society.
Presented on April 17, 2021.