Sep 28 2014
Negativeless is the current exhibition at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London. It runs from September 19th – October 23, 2014. Among the artists included are contemporary daguerreotypists Sean Culver and Adam Fuss.
“In a world of photography where digital ‘snaps’ are becoming the tedious norm, the Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a show navigating an area of photography that little is known about: the photograph made without a negative. No, not a photogram – but a photograph. We will present a wonderful mix of works, from rare early daguerreotypes through to contemporary takes on these early techniques.
Photographs were invented to be reproduced on demand. The London Stereoscopic Company, as an example, in the 19th century managed to produce hundreds of thousands of copies of photographs from individual negatives. As the mechanical world came into being,mass re-production became the preferred method.
The early photographer in the 1830’s and 1840’s strained to produce lasting images of quality and consistency and it was only in 1835 that the negative by Henry Fox Talbot was invented which allowed them to print numerous copies, and after the paper negative, it was no less arduous and complex a process coating collodion negatives. However, in 1837 [sic], Daguerre, a French scientist and inventor, developed a beautifully complex system of producing a photograph on a silver plated copper sheet which was usually cased so that owners could keep the images of their loved ones close to them in their pockets. Larger, half plate daguerreotypes, although much more expensive to produce and hence highly sought after, were often hung on the wall.
Today’s photographers have adopted the digital world in a way no one could have predicted. The days of the hand-made photograph, the laboratory technician, the chemist and artist combined seem almost like a distant memory. The camaraderie of the photographers and printers who would meet in the basement darkrooms of Soho to go over contacts and discuss the printing is all but gone…”
To read the full exhibition statement and see additional images visit the website.