I’m pleased to have booked a workshop Daguerreotype at the Pieter Brueghel center in Veghel November this year. To go back even further in time is something quite interesting and intriguing even though I have no plans (yet) to be working with this technique.
A sheet of copper that has been electroplated with a coating of metallic silver is used and polished to a fine sheen. This, according to those making daguerreotypes, is the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process. After this the metal plate is placed in a light-tight box (called an iodizing box) that contains iodine. In the box the fumes will react with the silver, creating a light-sensitive silver iodide coated plate. The plate will turn several colors during this iodizing stage from stray yellow to deep yellow, rose, blue and green. Deep yellow, tinged with rose was a typical fuming state of iodine-only daguerreotypes.
Under the illumination of candlelight the plate is loaded into a camera and exposed to a subject in bright sunlight. Then the plate will be developed in a box with the fumes of mercury that has been heated of 60 degrees Celsius. During this stage the mercury will merge (amalgamate) with the silver iodide that has been exposed to light.
Finally the plate is being washed with a diluted solution of sodium thiosulfate (originally sodium chloride; Daguerre’s manual, 1938) and washed with water. The shadows of the image are highly reflected polished silver, and the highlights are a white amalgam that scatters light, created by the mercury’s effect upon the silver during development. Once dried, it is permanent. (Source: The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes by Cristopher James)
If also interested in following this workshop click over here.