The image above is a portrait my friend James took of me last week as a late birthday present. It is a daguerrotype, which was the first photographic process ever invented. The image is captured on a copper plate that is coated in silver and polished so that is has a mirror surface. The plate is made light sensitive by fuming iodine and, originally, after the exposure it was fumed with mercury. There is a new recipe which eliminates the need for mercury and that was what was used for this image above.
The scan above doesn’t show the image’s true character. When you hold it in your hands you have to move the plate around until you can find the positive image, as it is a mirror surface and you can also see the negative at certain angles. It is a very hard thing to describe, but it is one of the most beautiful and magical forms of image making- you can really see why people were scared of photography when it first came about and how it was believed that your soul was captured by the camera.
This exposure was 8minutes long, hence my tense and slightly blurred look. I am told the plate is slightly over exposed. I was sitting in front of a piece of black cloth so that is why the back ground is non-existent and my hair has also been absorbed into the black.