Issue #184  10/13/2011
Dag Society Holds 23rd Symposium On October 27-30 in St. Petersburg, FL

The Daguerreian Society's 23rd annual meeting will be held in St. Petersburg, FL, Oct. 27-30. Attendees from around the world will attend lectures, daguerreotype viewings, an auction and a trade fair that is open to the general public. The events will be held in the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront (333 First Street South, the symposium headquarters) and the city's Museum of Fine Arts at 255 Beach Dr. N.E. The symposium registration costs $129 for members and $149 for non-members.

The Symposium will open on Thursday, Oct. 27. Rebecca Sexton Larson, a Tampa-based studio artist working with historic photographic processes, will speak on "Dry Plate Tintypes: History and Process," starting at 10 am. in the Bayview Room, Museum of Fine Arts. She will discuss both the wet- and dry-plate photographic processes. Her work is featured in the book "Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historic Technique," and in private and museum collections.

Also on Thursday, Daguerreian Society member Ken Nelson will speak about the daguerreotype process at a meeting of the museum's Stuart Society. A practicing daguerreotypist and historian for 35 years, he has taught the art of making daguerreotypes in Hawaii and New York. That separate talk begins at 10 am.

Another behind-the-scenes event will have members going on a local private tour of collectors Dr. & Mrs. Robert Drapkin's home. The additional cost of this special tour is $25 per person and is available to the first 25 people who sign up for it. The van will leave from the front of the hotel at 1 pm and the tour will end at 4 pm.

A gala reception officially launches the symposium at 7-9 pm on Thursday in the Marly Room of the Museum of Fine Arts. Attendees will tour the museum's exhibition, "Sitter and Subject in Nineteenth-Century Photography," admiring some of the 14,000 images in the museum collection.

The Trade Fair will be held on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Hilton-St. Petersburg Bayfront, with thousands of antique photographs of all descriptions offered for sale. Dealers from the U.S. and Canada will offer the world's largest display of daguerreotypes for sale in one location. Other photography work and ephemera will also be offered. The general public will be admitted starting 11 am. The trade fair will run until 5 pm. Cost for symposium registrants is free, and $8 for the general public. A reduced student entrance fee of $5 is available upon presentation of a student ID. Dealer tables are still available at $100. Contact the society.

Contemporary daguerreotypes will be on display in the hotel's hospitality suite beginning at 9 pm. Christopher Mahoney, vice president of photography at the Sotheby's auction house in New York City, will participate in the informal discussion about newly-produced daguerreotypes, one of his passions. Modern daguerreians will showcase their art and discuss their techniques.

The Symposium lectures continue on Saturday, Oct. 29 in the Marly Room of the Museum of Fine Arts on topics ranging from daguerreotypes of the California gold rush to the first form of photography predating even daguerreotypes.

The morning sessions run from 9:30 am-1 pm.

Gary Ewer, a collector and expert from Denver, will speak on "A Complete Picture of California: The Three Hundred Daguerreotypes by Robert H. Vance." Vance, an American daguerreotypist, arrived in San Francisco in 1850, during the height of the gold rush. Having already spent a few years in Valparaiso, Chile, making portrait daguerreotypes, Vance undertook a project to document the cities, towns and landscapes of the new El Dorado. At the time, photography was only 11 years old. Vance's monumental effort was unprecedented in America.

Walter Johnson, collector of antique photography, will speak on "November 1968," the conference that started his interest in collecting photographica. His presentation details events that helped launch efforts to collect and preserve photographic history.

The topic of Dusan Stulik, senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, is "Niépce and Daguerre, Daguerre and Niépce: The First Scientific Investigation of all Niépce's Images from UK and US Collections." Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, a French aristocrat, was the world's first photographer, producing images from nature in the 1820s; however, the crude images on pewter plates required hours of exposure. He and Daguerre entered into a partnership that resulted in Daguerre's inventing the daguerreotype, which was the first practical form of photography. Stulik will report on the first scientific investigation of all the Heliographic and Heliogravure plates created by Niépce in France that he brought with him to England in 1827.

The afternoon sessions run from 2:30-4:30 pm.

"Brady's Calhoun: The Recovery of an American Masterpiece" will be covered by Christopher Mahoney, vice president of photography at the Sotheby's. The subject is a daguerreotype of Southern politician John C. Calhoun, taken by Mathew Brady. A dramatic portrait that was the basis for Calhoun's image in Brady's publication "Gallery of Illustrious Americans," the daguerreotype inspired a monumental painting now owned by the U.S. Senate. The daguerreotype was lost for over a century, and then rediscovered. It was sold at auction for $338,500. Mahoney will tell the fascinating story.

A lively roundtable discussion will also be held, titled "The Daguerreotype Image: Who Owns It? Who Controls It?" Ownership and reproduction rights will be examined from the standpoint of the collector, the author, the publisher and the photographic artists. Who owns the rights to use a photograph? What are the copyright restrictions and challenges for photographic researchers? What are the dos and don'ts involving licensing? What are the legal versus practical issues on controlling the digital reproduction of images? Leonard Walle, longtime collector and a past president of The Daguerreian Society, is moderator for the panel, which includes: Wm. B. Becker, collector, photo historian, author, television producer and director of the American Museum of Photography; Carl Mautz, owner of Carl Mautz Publishing, an author, photo historian and collector with degrees in history and law; Rob McElroy, a full-time daguerreian artist and photo historian who earlier spent 25 years as a commercial, editorial, and advertising photographer; and Jeremy Rowe, EdD, author, photo historian, collector, and recently retired as Associate Director of the School of Computing and Informatics at Arizona State University, who has written a white paper on "Copyrights and Other Rights in Photographic Images" and a book chapter "Legal Issues Using Photographs for Research."

Following the talks, the day's activities conclude with a cocktail party and silent auction, a buffet banquet and a live benefit auction. Craig James, Esq. will be the auctioneer for the evening.

For more details and how to register, go to http://www.daguerre.org/ ; or call 1-412-221-0306.