The Daguerreian Society Lecture Series

The Daguerreian Society is offering a new series of weekly online lectures, on Zoom, that span the history, artistry, and technology of the daguerreotype and other 19th century photographs. We already have an impressive slate of talks by renowned experts, collection tours, and other topics as they develop. We will add new talks here as they are scheduled.

The first short introduction to the talk series on Saturday, May 30 introduced The Daguerreian Society and offered Q&A around our lecture series.

Unless otherwise noted, each week a $25.00 tax-deductible donation to The Daguerreian Society (a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)3 organization) will enable participation in the Zoom presentation.

On the morning of the talk each participant will receive an email with the Zoom information including a unique passcode that we ask you not to share. Access to each talk will be by screen, not by person, so you can invite others to join you in person as you watch the presentation.

We have a primer on using Zoom here.

In addition, participants will be able to access high-quality video of the presentation, made available a few days after the presentation itself. Each video is accessed using the password sent the day of the presentation. If you are unable to attend a presentation live, you can  donate for it later, be sent the password, and watch on your own schedule. If you donate but misplace your password, contact talks@daguerreiansociety.org for a replacement. Passwords never expire, and can be used to watch a video multiple times.

Would you like to give a talk? We are soliciting proposals. Click here for more information.

If you have ideas or specific interests for presentations you'd like to see, please email talks@daguerreiansociety.org, post in our Facebook Group "The Daguerreian Society", or add to the blog on The Daguerreian Society's web site.

Upcoming Presentations

Saturday August 8, 1:30 pm EDT: Spirit Photography

Presented by Bill Becker.

Do you believe in ghosts? How about ghosts you can actually see, in 150 year old photographs?

Photography historian Bill Becker explores the bizarre story of spirit photography in our next webinar, tracing the origins of the modern spiritualist movement during the daguerreotype period and the first explosion of spirit photography after the US Civil War. You’ll get a revealing first-person look into the making of the most famous ghost photograph — and learn the gigantic mistake that accidentally exposed the truth about that important image.

Image courtesy Wm. B. Becker collection/PhotographyMuseum.com

Donate here to see Spirit Photography on August 8. You will be sent the Zoom meeting information the day of the presentation.

Bill Becker has collected and researched early photography for more than 50 years. An original member of The Daguerreian Society, he currently serves the Society as a board member and board secretary. American portrait photographs from Bill’s collection were exhibited at the home of Daguerre in Bry-sur-Marne (2013) and at the MIT Museum (2014-2015), accompanied by the book Daguerre’s American Legacy. Other exhibitions drawn from the Wm. B. Becker collection were shown at the Krannert Art Museum (University of Illinois), the Meadow Brook Art Gallery of Oakland University, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Henry Ford Museum (in conjunction with the Walle Collection) and the South East Museum of Photography.

Spirit photographs from Bill’s collection have also been included in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albertina Museum, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, and the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie. Bill has spoken on the topic of spirit photography to groups as varied as the Victorian Society in America and the Los Angeles Conference on the History of Magic.

Bill Becker is director of the American Museum of Photography, an online-only museum (www.photographymuseum.com ); his next book, a monograph on the photographer Edwin Hale Lincoln, is scheduled for publication by Steidl later this year.

Saturday August 15, 1:30 pm EDT: Seeing the Elephant: Photography and the American Civil War

Presented by Jeff L. Rosenheim.

Donate here to see Seeing the Elephant: Photography and the American Civil War on August 15. You will be sent the Zoom meeting information the day of the presentation.

Previous Presentations

Saturday August 1, 1:30 pm EDT: The Daguerreotype and the 1851 Great Exhibition

Presented by Anthony Hamber.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations took place in the purpose built Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park between May and October 1851 and received some six million visitors. The official report stated that “never before was so rich a collection of photographic pictures brought together.” Daguerreotypes gained the best reviews and American Daguerreotypes stole the show.

This talk surveyed the role of the Daguerreotype at the Great Exhibition, including the Daguerreotypes and Daguerreotype equipment exhibited, the Daguerreotypes taken of the Exhibition and its contents, and finally the exploitation of the Daguerreotype to aid the production of illustrations for a wide range of contemporary publications.

If you missed The Daguerreotype and the 1851 Greate Exhibition, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Anthony Hamber is an independent photographic historian and was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of London for his study on the photography of the fine arts in England 1839 to 1880. This was published in an extended version by Gordon and Breach in 1996 as “A Higher Branch of the Art”; Photographing the Fine Arts in England 1839-1880 and became the subject of an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

He has been researching, publishing, and teaching on the history of early photography and the 1851 Great Exhibition for more than two decades. His book Photography and the 1851 Great Exhibition was published by Oak Knoll Press and V & A Publications in 2018 in conjunction with the opening the Photography Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

A member of Advisory Board of the Talbot Catalogue Raisonné project based at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Anthony is an expert on 19th century photographically illustrated publications and has been building an annotated international bibliography for many years, with the aim of future online publication.

Saturday July 25, 1:30 pm EDT: Highlights of the Daguerreotype in Argentina & Uruguay

Presented by Carlos Vertanessian.

If you missed Highlights of the Daguerreotype in Argentina & Uruguay, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Born in Argentina, Carlos G. Vertanessian has been a member of the Daguerreian Society since the early 1990s.  He earned an agronomical engineering degree at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. His lifetime passion for photography and imagery led him to develop a carrier in marketing, introducing holography to Argentina, and later spreading his business to cover promotional & cultural marketing.

For over 35 years Carlos has been collecting early accounts of the origins of photography and daguerreotypes and other hard images taken in Argentina and Uruguay, and has recently become a part time dealer in Latin American images. He has thus put together one of the largest specialized collections in Latin America. Over the last five years he has been actively engaged in a personal crusade to spread the “daguerreian word” in his own country, and also to visit public and private collections elsewhere, to better understand the daguerreian period and the way photography spread around the world. As a special tribute to Daguerre, he has commissioned the creation of a limited edition bronze bust of the “magician of light.”

He takes special pleasure in researching and “reading” daguerreian period images, and has published two books relating early photography and visual culture in Argentina. The last one -released in December 2018- is the result of 8 years of research and has a prologue by Grant Romer. This work has gained the highest recognition since both the Ministry of National Culture and the Academy of Fine Arts declared it of “national interest”. In 2019 he helped catalog and curate the collection of daguerreotypes of the National History Museum of Argentina for the publication of a catalogue raisonné, released right after. He believes collecting early photography is about discovering and collecting their stories, and that it should be about “pleasure, knowledge and sharing”.

Saturday July 18, 1:30 pm EDT: The Daguerreotype: A Contemporary Approach

The Daguerreotype: A Contemporary Approach was presented on July 18 by Jerry Spagnoli and Mike Robinson.

If you missed The Daguerreotype: A Contemporary Approach, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Jerry Spagnoli lives and works in New York City. He is currently working on a series of historical documentation projects. The preoccupation of these projects is how the personal experience of history and the "objective" document of it are enmeshed. Within this series is a continuing exploration of the daguerreotype and the collotype and their potential as contemporary photographic mediums.

His most recent book Regard was published by Steidl. His other monographs include American Dreaming and Daguerreotypes published by Steidl, and Heirloom Harvest Published in 2015 by Bloomsbury.

His collaborations with Chuck Close have resulted in two monographs, A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, published by Aperture, and Daguerreotypes published by Gabrius. A collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld has produced a monograph and show entitled The Glory of Water.

His work has appeared in many books and publications, among them are Watching the World Change, by David Friend, Photography's Antiquarian Avant Garde, by Lyle Rexer, 21st: A Journal of Contemporary Photography Volume VI: Flesh and Spirit, Vanity Fair, DoubleTake Magazine, Adbusters, Metropolis and Graphis.

His 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, Musee d’Elysee, Musee Carnevalet, The Fogg Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The Chrystler Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The High Museum, The New York Historical Society, and other major collections

Dr. Mike Robinson is an artist-practitioner, teacher, conservator, and historian of the daguerreotype. In June 2017 he earned his PhD in Photographic History with dissertation titled The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype. He has researched and written on the studio practice of Southworth and Hawes for the Young America catalog and for The Daguerreian Society Annual.

Mike taught graduate and undergraduate courses in 19th Century Photographic Processes at Ryerson University in Toronto, and has lectured and taught daguerreotype workshops in Toronto, Rochester, New York City, Lacock Abbey UK, Bry-sur-Marne France, and Kolomna Russia.

Mike’s daguerreotypes are in the collections of The Portrait Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, The Carnegie-Mellon, The Snite Museum, The Fox Talbot Museum, The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, Musée Metienne, The Russian Museum of Photography and in many private collections.

Saturday July 11, 1:30 pm EDT: French Daguerreotypes

This talk on French daguerreotypes was given by Malcolm Daniel, curator of photography at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Malcom was the organizer of the memorable 2004 show The Dawn of Photography: French Daguerreotypes, 1839-1855 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

If you missed French Daguerreotypes, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Saturday July 4, 1:30 pm EDT: Face to Face with the Revolution

In this one-hour talk on the 244th anniversary of our nation's birth, Joe Bauman presented his unparalleled collection of identified photographic portraits of soldiers, and one sailor, who served in America's Revolutionary War as young men and lived through the Daguerreian Era. These people were now in their eighties, nineties, and even one-hundreds when they were daguerreotyped or photographed by the CDV camera.

As Joe put it: "Nothing comes close to the time-machine thrill of looking into the eyes of a man whose same eyes had watched George Washington on the battlefield."

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

This talk was exclusive and free to all members of The Daguerreian Society. Members who attended will have a password to access the video sent the day of the presentation. Members who didn't attend, lost the password, or joined after the presentation, please contact us.

If you aren't a member and would like to see this talk, maybe it's a good time to join the Society?

Joe Bauman has spent most of his life shoveling words mainly as a journalist,  starting in 1963 as editor and columnist for his high-school paper, the Kwajpodge, and later as a reporter, editor, blogger, columnist, freelancer – and also as an author of fiction and non-fiction books.

He worked as a reporter and cameraman at WBOC-TV, Salisbury, Maryland; The Beachcomber newspaper covering Ocean City, Maryland, and based in Selbyville, Delaware; the Delmarva News, Selbyville, and the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. He began with the last in 1971 and retired in 2008, having covered federal courts, medicine, the environment and (for many years) science. He still contributes astronomy articles to the paper, one or two a month.

In 1970 Joe was photographing and writing a feature article about a flea market near the Delaware coast, when he ran across a table filled with knickknacks among which were three cased images. He had never seen anything like them. One was a photo on glass, not in good shape. The others were images on silver plates, an old woman sitting at a table piled with books, and a young man who looked like Paul Newman wearing an outrageously long cravat. He thought the metal pictures were badly faded or somehow broken, because when turned most directions they were negatives glaring in the sunlight, and only when he got something dark reflecting onto them were they positives. He bought all three.

Since then Joe and his wife Cory have collected all sorts of antique photos, but mostly daguerreotypes. His family now has hundreds of pre-1900 images of many varieties. They are intrigued with the tie to history, their intimacy and, as far as daguerreotypes are concerned, the unmatched beauty of the process.

Saturday June 27, 1:30 pm EDT: Southworth and Hawes

A two-hour conversation on Southworth and Hawes by Mike Robinson and Grant Romer drawing from the collection at The George Eastman House.

If you missed Southworth and Hawes, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Dr. Mike Robinson is an artist-practitioner, teacher, conservator, and historian of the daguerreotype. In June 2017 he earned his PhD in Photographic History with dissertation titled The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype. He has researched and written on the studio practice of Southworth and Hawes for the Young America catalog and for The Daguerreian Society Annual.

Mike taught graduate and undergraduate courses in 19th Century Photographic Processes at Ryerson University in Toronto, and has lectured and taught daguerreotype workshops in Toronto, Rochester, New York City, Lacock Abbey UK, Bry-sur-Marne France, and Kolomna Russia.

Mike’s daguerreotypes are in the collections of The Portrait Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, The Carnegie-Mellon, The Snite Museum, The Fox Talbot Museum, The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, Musée Metienne, The Russian Museum of Photography and in many private collections.

Grant Romer holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. In 1976, he joined the staff of the George Eastman House, becoming its Conservator of Photography in 1989. He was Director of the Andrew W, Mellon Foundation Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation from 1999 to 2010. He has had a distinguished career as leading educator in this field. Having retired in 2010, Romer holds the title Scholar In Residence at George Eastman House and continues to be active as a researcher, consultant and lecturer. He has served many of the world’s most important institutional photographic collections, including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Harvard and Yale Universities, The J. Paul Getty Museum; The Vatican; The National Palace Museum, Taiwan; The Israel Museum; The British Museum; and the national archives and libraries of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United States. He has received fellowships from such entities as the Japan Foundation, the Gulbenkian Foundation; the Churchill Heritage Trust; the Max Planck Institute; the Getty Trust; the Gould Foundation; the Kress Foundation. He has held two Fulbright Fellowships, In 2012, while participating in the “CdF Jornadas: 8”, organized by the Centro Municipal de Fotografia de Montevideo, Romer was declared an “Illustrious Visitor” and presented an award by the Mayor of Montevideo, in recognition of his contributions to the Conservation of Photographs in Latin America, particularly through education.

Romer is recognized as a world authority on early photography, particularly the history, practice and conservation of the Daguerreotype. He has written and lectured extensively on many other aspects of photographic history. He has served as curator for many exhibitions while at Eastman House, most notably, "Young America-The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes." The Daguerreian Society awarded Romer its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In 2014 Romer and Ariadna Cervera Xicotencatl, founded the Academy of Archaic Imaging, dedicated to exploring the history of the application of technology to depicting visual experience. Romer maintains that practical experience with such devices as the various forms of Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida, Perspectograph, and Pantograph is essential to understanding the origins, progress and transformations of Imaging Technology. Two Academy programs in collaboration with Fernando Osorio have been given 2016 and 2017 at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City.

Saturday June 20, 1:30 pm EDT: Managing, Cataloging, Storing, and Digitizing your Daguerreotype Collection

This one-hour presentation started with Mike Robinson on digitizing your daguerreotypes, followed by Len Walle and Phil Nathanson discussing how to manage, catalog and store your photographic collections.

These topics are some of our most asked-about subjects in the Daguerreian Society's Facebook group. If you aren't a member the group you are missing a wealth of information daily about daguerreotypes and other pre-1870s images.

If you missed Managing, Cataloging, Storing, and Digitizing your Daguerreotype Collection, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Collection catalog templates mentioned in the talk. Templates from Len Walle are courtesy of Cliff Krainik:

Len Walle became interested in photography at a very early age and is a Daguerreian Society founding member. After an education in chemistry and business, he worked professionally in the graphic arts industry for over 30 years. Len serves on the University of Michigan Clements Library Associates Board of Governors, the board of the National Stereoscopic Association, the board of the Michigan Photographic Historical Society and is past president / board member of The Daguerreian Society and past president of the Detroit Institute of Arts Forum for Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Combining an interest in history and art, he continues to study the common bond between explorers, artists and scientists during the 19th century as well as the ability of the daguerreotype to capture in its own special way the human spirit through portraiture. In 2018 he received The Daguerreian Society Fellowship Award for the advancement of scholarship in the field of photo history and the willingness to share that knowledge.

Phil Nathanson has been a long-time collector of books, ephemera and photography. His main collecting interest for almost four decades has been 19th century photography. He is an active researcher and has published books including "Early Southern California Photography. The Continent Stereoscopic Company" and "W.A. Vale: Pioneer Photographer." He has lectured about Southern California photography to historical societies, museums and collector organizations. Phil is a member of the Zamorano Club, the Westerners and other historical organizations. He holds BA and MS degrees from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. Phil has been a member of the Daguerreian Society since 1999.

Saturday June 13, 1:30 pm EDT: Interrogating the Photograph as Object

Image Identification, the first 20 years. Connoisseurship and process with Grant Romer and Roger Watson. Moderated by Mike Robinson.

If you missed Interrogating the Photograph as Object, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Roger Watson is currently the Curator of the Fox Talbot Museum at Lacock. He has previously been the Assistant Director of Museum Studies at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York and has consulted for the Science Museum and the Guildhall Library, London and for Christie's Auction House in New York and London. In 1997 he discovered the first photographs made in Canada, which were also the first views of Niagara Falls. He is co-author of Capturing the Light, a comparative biography of Talbot and Daguerre, and a Daguerreian Society member since 1991.

Grant Romer holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. In 1976, he joined the staff of the George Eastman House, becoming its Conservator of Photography in 1989. He was Director of the Andrew W, Mellon Foundation Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation from 1999 to 2010. He has had a distinguished career as leading educator in this field. Having retired in 2010, Romer holds the title Scholar In Residence at George Eastman House and continues to be active as a researcher, consultant and lecturer. He has served many of the world’s most important institutional photographic collections, including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Harvard and Yale Universities, The J. Paul Getty Museum; The Vatican; The National Palace Museum, Taiwan; The Israel Museum; The British Museum; and the national archives and libraries of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United States. He has received fellowships from such entities as the Japan Foundation, the Gulbenkian Foundation; the Churchill Heritage Trust; the Max Planck Institute; the Getty Trust; the Gould Foundation; the Kress Foundation. He has held two Fulbright Fellowships, In 2012, while participating in the “CdF Jornadas: 8”, organized by the Centro Municipal de Fotografia de Montevideo, Romer was declared an “Illustrious Visitor” and presented an award by the Mayor of Montevideo, in recognition of his contributions to the Conservation of Photographs in Latin America, particularly through education.

Romer is recognized as a world authority on early photography, particularly the history, practice and conservation of the Daguerreotype. He has written and lectured extensively on many other aspects of photographic history. He has served as curator for many exhibitions while at Eastman House, most notably, "Young America-The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes." The Daguerreian Society awarded Romer its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In 2014 Romer and Ariadna Cervera Xicotencatl, founded the Academy of Archaic Imaging, dedicated to exploring the history of the application of technology to depicting visual experience. Romer maintains that practical experience with such devices as the various forms of Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida, Perspectograph, and Pantograph is essential to understanding the origins, progress and transformations of Imaging Technology. Two Academy programs in collaboration with Fernando Osorio have been given 2016 and 2017 at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City.

Saturday June 6, 1:30 pm EDT: Mike Robinson's Daguerre's Legacy

This presentation retraced Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre’s pathway of discovery and innovation that led to the invention of the daguerreotype process. The historical canon is revised with new details obtained by revisiting the historical record informed by artisanal, tacit, and causal knowledge gained from making new daguerreotypes in the laboratory.

If you missed Daguerre's Legacy, and would like access to this recording, you can still donate here and will be sent the password.

Link to video (you will need to supply the password for the presentation; open the link in a new window to watch the video full screen).

Dr. Mike Robinson is an artist-practitioner, teacher, conservator, and historian of the daguerreotype. In June 2017 he earned his PhD in Photographic History with dissertation titled The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype. He has researched and written on the studio practice of Southworth and Hawes for the Young America catalog and for The Daguerreian Society Annual.

Mike taught graduate and undergraduate courses in 19th Century Photographic Processes at Ryerson University in Toronto, and has lectured and taught daguerreotype workshops in Toronto, Rochester, New York City, Lacock Abbey UK, Bry-sur-Marne France, and Kolomna Russia.

Mike’s daguerreotypes are in the collections of The Portrait Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, The Carnegie-Mellon, The Snite Museum, The Fox Talbot Museum, The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, Musée Metienne, The Russian Museum of Photography and in many private collections.

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