Spagnoli and history


Jerry Spagnoli, The Last Great Dageurrian Survey of the Twentieth Century

Jerry Spagnoli is probably the world expert on the arcane Dageurreotype process. This was the first public form of photography, announced in January 1839. But Spagnoli makes larger and better Dageurreotypes than were possible at that time, an impressive achievement considering considering millions where made all over the world, 90,000 in the colony of NSW alone. Dageurreotypes were small enough to fit into a locket, but Spagnoli’s are huge, his latest series are 11×14 inches.

Dageurreotypes were very popular in the US and the process is closely tied to the nation’s 19th century history so it’s fascinating to see it recording US history in the 21st century. The image above captures the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001. A mid-19th century process aimed at a 21st century event involving inventions that were not even thought of then – the skyscraper, the airplane and terrorism. That is a strange time warp.


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