In daguerreotype photography, the first commercially successful photographic process, a positive image is recorded directly onto a silvered copper plate. Although mercury is traditionally used to develop the plate, there’s a way of creating daguerreotypes called the Becquerel method that eschews mercury in favor of non-lethal ingredients. According to Contemporary Daguerreotypes,
A polished silver plate is sensitized with iodine vapor. After the sensitized plate is exposed to light in a camera, the image will develop if the plate is further exposed to bright light through a red or amber filter. He called this the action of “continuation rays.” The curious aspect is you can watch the image form much like a Polaroid. Depending on how the subject of the image, how the plate was prepared and the development time, Becquerel images can be indistinguishable from mercury developed plates.
Did you catch that? The mysterious process uses sunlight to magically develop the images. In the video above, photographer Jerry Spagnoli shows how the Becquerel method is done, from start (polishing a piece of metal) to finish (a great looking photo). Read more…
Here’s another video featuring SF photo shop Photobooth and its tintype portraits. Will and Norm of Tested talk to shop owner Michael Shindler, who goes in depth into how tintype photographs are created and the science behind the process.
If you’ve never shot with a large format camera before, you might find this video illuminating. In it, photographer Simon Roberts walks us through the process of making prints using a 4×5 plate camera, from setting the camera up to watching the giant prints roll out of the machine.
Because it’s quite a slow process, you think much more about the composition…you take a lot more care and thought in crafting the image.
Back in 1996, National Geographic released a documentary film titled “The Photographers” that gives the world a behind-the-scenes look at how the magazine’s amazing imagery is created:
Going behind the camera and on assignment with veteran photographers for National Geographic, this documentary answers the eternal question asked by the magazine’s readers: “How in the world did they get that shot?” The photographers recount the grueling preparation that shooting for the magazine entails, from mundane details such as obtaining visas to preparing oneself for dangers such as severe climates, deep-sea dives, raging beasts, and local bandits. [...] this video is a visual delight, as many examples of noteworthy National Geographic photographs, and entertaining explanations of how the shot was set up and snapped, appear throughout. [#]
What’s great is that you [US residents] can watch the entire 53-minute film for free over on SnagFilms.
Los Angeles-based photographer Dave Hill created this video showing all 11 photographs in his Adventure series deconstructed, giving us a glimpse of how they were put together. Hill lights and shoots different portions of his photographs separately, then combines them all into a single image using crazy Photoshop skills. Reminds me of Disney’s amazing multi-plane camera.