Daguerre’s Legacy: Bonne chance ou bon génie
Contemporary Daguerreotype Artist and Historian Mike Robinson, Ph.D. will present a talk that retraces Daguerre’s pathway of discovery and innovation described in historical accounts, and combines this historical research with artisanal, tacit, and causal knowledge gained through replicative practice to shed new light on the history of the Daguerre’s photographic research. The daguerreotype process has a unique material story about its creation. Clues from the historical record have been re-examined and replicated to understand and illustrate fifteen years of Daguerre’s scientific work from 1829 to 1844. This lecture offers fresh insight into Daguerre’s involvement with the materiality of the silver plate, iodine sensitizing, and plate acceleration, and optics.
This talk is derived from Robinson’s doctoral thesis, "The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype," which rigorously explains by empirical evidence how, why, and in what ways the daguerreotype process evolved. Its trans-disciplinary methodology, combining traditional research, tacit and gestural process knowledge, and laboratory synthesis refutes the speculative views of highly regarded photo historians, thus significantly correcting the historical record.
Co-sponsored by UChicago Arts, Course Arts Resource Fund, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Humanities Collegiate Division, Department of Art History