Jerry Spagnoli Two Botanical Studies
Medium Daguerreotype (Full plate)
Mount in original frame
Photo Date 2001 Print Date 2001
Dimensions 8-1/4 x 6-1/4 in. (210 x 159 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Two images of tree branches in blossom that complement one another. Both are in black frames, and have the etched signature of the photographer and the date "12/22/00" on verso. The size refers to each individual plate. Some nice solarization in specific areas. Only parts of the flowers and branches emerge in vivid detail out of a deep dreamy background making for dramatic contrast.
Jerry Spagnoli (New York, 1956), a photographer since the mid-1970s, is best known for his work with the daguerreotype process, a complex photographic technique invented in 1839 that produces images on highly polished, silver clad copper plates. Initiating his exploration of the daguerreotype in San Francisco in 1994, Spagnoli experimented with 19th-century materials and studied the effects achieved by early practitioners to understand the technical aspects of the process, as well as its expressive and visual potential as a medium.
He began work on an ongoing series entitled “The Last Great Daguerreian Survey of the 20th Century” in 1995, continuing the series upon returning to the east coast in 1998. The project features views of the metropolis as well as images of historically significant events including the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, the vigil following the disappearance of John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Times Square at midnight on the eve of the new millennium. Considered the leading expert in the revitalization of the daguerreotype process, Spagnoli is also noted for his collaboration with artist Chuck Close on daguerreotype portraits and nudes.
Spagnoli had several important books on his work published, including "Daguerreotypes: 1995-2004, Jerry Spagnoli" by Steidl in 2006, "American Dreaming by Steidl in 2010, and "Heirloom Harvest" by Bloomsbury USA in 2015.
Spagnoli says about his medium: "I've come to appreciate [it] as a presentation method, not simply as an image-generating system. A daguerreotype captured from any source, if properly executed, still presents the image to the viewer with uncanny immediacy.
"Ultimately my use of various materials and methods is centered in my desire to make complicated stories out of the everyday world, which is my apparent subject matter. Photography allows me to engage viewers with images and ideas which are filtered through the abstracting apparatus of the camera and woven into the matrix of its rich history."
His work is in the following museum collections: The Whitney Museum of American Art; The National Portrait Gallery; The Chrysler Museum; The Fogg Museum; The High Museum; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Nelson Atkins Museum; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Oakland Museum; The New York Historical Society; The Museum of the City of New York; The Cleveland Museum; Musee Carnavalet, Paris.
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