Friday, December 13, 2019

Daguerrean Dream, Visual Symphony - Part I

Daguerrean Dream
Visual Symphony, Part I
Sonata in Natural Color

  While moving through the passages of life, each of us carries a unique melody, a certain rhythm, a distinct tune. This tune has its origin within physical world, but is given structure and final form by filters of our perception.  Each sight we see is akin to a musical note in a score, and our emotional responses are sounds, generated from that static symbolic mark, but given flavor by each performer.  Most times this melody goes entirely unnoticed, as if a current under a moored boat, gently swaying our experience to and fro. At times though, with or without intent, we are set adrift upon that ever-present current, and get a chance to merge with it in much more viscerally and raw ways.  When we focus our conscious attention on such unconscious forces as dreams and unadulterated imagination, the unseen can briefly be glimpsed, and it is those visions that we fix upon page or plate to communicate them to the world.  
  Dreams have always played an important role in my life.  Ever since I can recall, I was caught day-dreaming at all various places and occasions, and my imagination constantly ran wild given even the slightest opportunity.  Reality was a merely a playground for my mind.  When asleep, I dreamed in color, and sometimes those fleeting visions of the night left deep impressions upon me, affecting the day as if a color filter was placed over it.  These experiences led me to gravitate toward photography as a medium of choice for transcribing such ethereal notion as personal perception of reality into visual format.  Rooted in physical properties of interplay between light and substance, photography allows the maker for a screen of each individual’s dream-state to reveal intricate patterns of deeply personal nature.  Manipulation of photographic substances and equipment during the process of creation, is a transformation of visions of our dreams into form that can be experienced by others.
  Works presented here comprise an introductory piece, a sonata, part of a visual symphony.  This symphony uses nanoparticles of silver instead of musical notations,  and acts to stimulate the visual rather than auditory sense.  The sonata before you is meant to familiarize viewer’s eye with previously unexplored pallet of natural daguerreotype colors and textures, which lay dormant now for too long.   I wanted to rethink the original method by which faithful images from nature were obtained. In doing so, I felt unhindered by predisposition. While charting the course of my exploration almost entirely empirically, I melded and reformed with each new phase of discovery.   Colors, shades, tones, and offspring of their interactions dance upon the plate, reflecting the varied moods of dreams.  Accessing those dreams and seeing them solidified upon a silver plate is a joy like no other I’ve experienced.


Water Drop

Sun Splash

Mind Works



Dark Matter

City Bustle

Spheres of Influence

  On process:
  Why daguerreotype?  That’s simple, but it’s a two-part explanation. 
  First off, daguerreotypes images are entirely unique, with each plate being as precious and unrepeatable as a single dream.  Finesse of detail, variety of possible textures and colors, incredible stability and longevity those qualities attracted me from the start, Attentive investigation into these aspect revealed to me new horizons, just as dreams often do.  While creating a daguerreotype, one has to keep a constant focus in their mind.  Mindfulness is paramount to success, and, just like in dreams, one single seemingly insignificant detail can in fact be the main determining factor, the crux and cornerstone of a particular lesson.
  Secondly, aside from its nearly unlimited resolution and mesmerizingly holographic appearance, daguerreotype, with its unmatched historic significance, also happens to have the most untapped potential of any other I’ve encountered over the three decades of my photographic journey.  Since the first time I saw a high quality daguerreotype made in front of me over eight years ago, I felt a relentless pull to translate my vision into daguerreotype format.  It took a number of years to get started, and then as many years to get proficient in this demanding, and very physical process.  Once I was able to portray upon a silver plate that which I envisioned, I wanted to make this noble process truly my own.  I saw a multitude of potential treatments of it that went unnoticed or unutilized now for 180 years.  Daguerreotype brought forth to the world the art of photography, but since that momentous occasion, remained nearly completely stagnant.
  My journey into this visual symphony aimed to simultaneously develop new syntax for both my own artistic expression and for this wonderful process.  Surprises amid exploration of its hidden properties, felt in perfect unison with what it is like for me to experience moments of vivid dreaming, or when I let down all guards and let imagination carry me forth to form new imagery with nothing but firing of synapse groups.
 Nanoparticles composing daguerreotype image, each indistinguishable with naked eye, unite in a symphony of a structured semblance, sometimes arranging themselves to mirror a likeness of things material, at other times conveying something much more elusive.  Every time I look at a plate, prior to setting in motion choreographed steps of polishing, fuming, exposing, developing, and gilding parts of the daguerrean dance, I feel as if in a trance; waiting for the final reveal during final drying stage, is like waiting for the morning, when with first blinks of freshly opened eyes, I can still see the colors that danced before me in my slumber.

On Presentation:
  Daguerreotype’s intrinsic potential for wide variety of color through effects of refraction and opalescence were just of the many untapped potentials I saw in the process.  I hear modern makers refer to instances when a plate has strong opalescent effect as ‘a bit of good luck’, while I wanted to investigate all the potential it had to offer.  If you ever held an abalone shell in your hand, and watched the colors play upon its surface as you let sunlight strike it at different angles, then perhaps you can imagine holding a daguerreotype and seeing, as you tilt the plate, hues of color change from gold to purple, from sea-foam green to sky blue, from bronze to steel.  Unfortunately, here’s no way to capture any of it in a still image in order to present it online…  To make matters a bit more complicated, opalescence exhibits itself strongest while the plate is tilted at a particular angle, while light is allowed to strike it from one particular side only, and the angle of light matters as well.  Conventional copying methods, such as scanners and copy stands, fail to provide flexibility needed to accurately transcribe opalescence in any accurate manner.  Thus, images presented in this blog are those of plates being held in one of the more favorable angles, and taken with a phone camera.  On one hand, it would be nice to have a ‘straight’ file, and I am currently working on a specialized copying rig, which will provide high-resolution files needed for printing.  On the other hand though, daguerreotypes are always best experienced live, and not on a pedestal or wall, but while being held in hand, so these images have a potential to remind attentive viewers of that fact.
 First variants of themes above are currently not for sale.  However, a unique interpretation of any image you see can be made on commission.  Colors and placement will vary.  While your plate will strongly resemble the one you chose me to expand upon, it will be a completely one of a kind original creation. 


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