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the photographer

Jerry Spagnoli


Jerry Spagnoli lives and works in New York City
He is currently working on several projects including two ongoing historical documentation series,
“Local Stories” and “The Last Great Daguerreian Survey of the Twentieth Century”.
The common thread among all his projects is the exploration of the interplay between information and knowledge

Taking the camera and photosensitive materials as the traditional standard for objectivity Spagnoli explores the ways that subjectivity is the inevitable basis of all knowledge.

A book of his work, titled Daguerreotypes was published by Steidl in 2006, and his next book “American Dreaming will be published in Fall 2009.

His work has appeared in many books and publications, among them are “Watching the World Change”, by David Friend, “Photography’s Antiquarian Avant Garde” by Lyle Rexer, “21st: A Journal of Contemporary Photography Volume VI: Flesh and Spirit”, Vanity Fair, DoubleTake Magazine, Adbusters, Metropolis and Graphis.

His work is held in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The National Portrait Gallery, The Fogg Museum,  The Museum of Modern Art, The Chrystler Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, The High Museum, The New York Historical Society and other major collections





L'article en français


Daguerreotypes from
Jerry Spagnoli


How did you come to the daguerreotype process?

I discovered my first daguerreotype in 1979 at a photography flea market and considered it the most perfect photograph I had ever seen. I then decided to make one, eventually.



Which proportion of your time as a photographer do you devote to the daguerreotype process?

Currently, about half my time is devoted to daguerreotypes.


With which equipment do you make these daguerreotypes?

I use an 8x10 view camera, modern or ancient lenses and darkroom equipment that I build myself.



Have you established any bridges between your practice as a daguerreotypist and digital photography?

I scan my daguerreotypes and make prints from them occasionally. I use digital technology in other projects, photography and video.


What are the advantages and drawbacks of the daguerreotype as compared to other photographic processes?

Daguerreotypes have a unique and powerful presence, a feeling of immediacy that other media lack but they are cumbersome to work with. Slow speed, difficult and time consuming preparation and the need for a nearby darkroom can get in the way of certain projects.

Do you think that certain subjects are particularly suitable for daguerreotypes?

I think any subject is suitable for daguerreotypes as long as the medium's limitations are taken into account but I think portraiture in particular works well.

What are the main features of a good daguerreotype in your opinion?

I like daguerreotypes that have clarity, immediacy and rich tones.

How do you see the future of daguerreotypes?

I think that as industrial photography fades and photographers increasingly have to make their own materials the daguerreotype will become even more popular with artists.

Would you have any advice to young photographers wishing to make daguerreotypes?

Patience, caution and perseverance are required.


voir également sur la daguerréotypie :
daguerreotypes de sean culver
eric-mertens : daguerréotypes
jerry spagnoli : daguerréotypes
marc kereun : daguerréotypes
marc kereun : l'exposition de daguerréotypes contemporains de Bry sur Marne
marc kereun : technique du daguerréotype
marinus j. ortelee : daguerréotypes
patrick bailly-maitre-grand : daguerréotypes
reproduire pour exposer
rob mcelroy : daguerréotypes





dernière modification de cet article : 2009




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