Sep 30 2009
From Ken Nelson to accompany the images he sent in:
Friday, September 18: The turnout for the presentations and Visite Inaugurale was very impressive! By the time the crowd left the Salle Daguerre auditorium (photo 1, from upper left) and headed for the Museum across the street, it had swelled to well over 100 people, possibly many more. Once in the galleries in the Hôtel de Malestroit, the crowd fanned out to converse and look at the show (photos 2-5.) Co-curator Margaret Calvarin offered her welcome to the gathering in the main foyer for both the Contemporary Daguerreotype and Diorama of Bry-sur-Marne segments of the show (photos 6 and 7.) I speak very little French, but Margaret’s hands and face spoke the universal language of excitement and welcome.
Then we all adjourned to a very large tent in the garden (the weather, however, was perfect.) There were more welcomes by Jean-Pierre Spilbauer, Mayor of Bry-sur-Marne, and Co Curator Marc Kereun, the modern daguerreotypist’s Man-of-the-Hour. The assembled crowd was then treated to a feast of hors-d’oeuvres, desserts, apéritifs and champagne (photos 8-10. Marc converses with Eneida Odriozola of Spain in photo 11.) I tried to meet as many of my daguerreian colleagues as I could during the reception, but it was so crowded that navigation was often difficult! Much of the crowd, including me, lingered for almost two hours until the afternoon program was ready to begin.
Later in the afternoon, Jerry Spagnoli presented one of his popular demonstrations of making a Becquerel-process daguerreotype. Jerry certainly knows how to “work” a crowd, as can be seen in the two last photos. The demonstration started with everyone in their seats (photo 12), but by the time Jerry was ready to gild his plate, everyone was on their feet, pressing in for a closer look!
Personally, I was humbled by the overwhelming hospitality and enthusiasm shown by the staff of the Museum and the City and people of Bry-sur-Marne. It seemed like no expense was spared in order to make us feel welcome and honored, and to make our daguerreotypes look their best. My sincere thanks, and I’m sure I speak for all the daguerreotypists represented, either in person or by their work.