Making our largest artist gallery are the images of Rob McElroy. Another veteran of the process Rob too has mastered the process over many years. In his own words:
“I have been a professional photographer since 1980, and I first learned the daguerreotype process in 1997 at a George Eastman House Historic Process Workshop taught by daguerreian expert Ken Nelson. I was the first of Ken’s many students to make my own daguerreotypes using all of my own equipment, most of which I had to design and build myself.
Ken’s advanced class came the next year, and what followed was my singular pursuit, over the past 10 years, to work at achieving a level of technical perfection with the process, that would rival the daguerreian masters of the 1850s, and which would allow me to expose my own artistic vision onto the surface of the most beautiful, life-like and hauntingly mysterious photographic process ever invented, the daguerreotype.
The goal of my many years of research and experimentation has been to achieve a uniformly-polished, evenly-sensitized (from edge-to-edge) daguerreotype plate — that has a full range of tones, and is predictable and consistent from one plate to the next. I can finally say, I have reached my goal. In addition to Ken, I owe much of my inspiration and technical expertise to Irving Pobboravsky, the modern master of this most difficult of mediums. No one has advanced the knowledge and understanding of the daguerreotype more than Irv has.
I have achieved a few unique firsts with the daguerreotype process. I was the first person to expose a daguerreotype using electronic flash, and many of the images in my gallery here were produced using it. The electronic flash also allowed me to be the first person to stop-action on a daguerreotype plate; see my image of a swinging strand of pearls, frozen in mid-air. I also designed and built a candid daguerreian camera which allows me to make hand-held daguerreotypes utilizing a very fast modern lens. In addition, I have invented a new archival sealing tape for daguerreotypes which prevents air incursion into the enclosure, and which also scavenges-out any harmful atmospheric vapors that may have been trapped inside the enclosure when it was sealed. My daguerreian gallery in Buffalo, NY may be the first permanent gallery in over 100 years — to be designed and built exclusively to display daguerreotypes.
The daguerreotype is my passion, and now that it is under my control, instead of it controlling me, I will be making many new and exciting images that are not only mysterious and beautiful, but that also challenge the limits of the process, producing tones, contrasts and reflections that other processes can’t even hope to achieve.”