July 18, 1997
Hello fellow daguerreotypists,
It's not too early to start sorting through dags for our show in DC this November. We'll be trying a different approach this time around and will set up on tables at the trade fair on Friday night with a possible showcase in the lobby on Saturday. A little commercialism is worth a try. Not that we should be hucksters or any of those other cigar chomping sorts--but an injection of marketing savvy might start moving our product. Since Joe Camel is unemployed maybe we could get him: "Take a big dag and life is good."
From the cutting edge: Grant got a call to help out with some daguerreotype details on a film being shot in Newport, RI a couple weeks back. After the deal was worked out, he headed for Narragansett Bay with intentions of explaining why daguerreotyping the President of the U.S. in 1839 was a little dicey from an authenticity point of view. As he made his way through one of the mansions being used as a set, replica equipment in hand, he rounded a corner and inadvertently whacked a guy on the shin with his tripod. This guy, writhing in pain, screamed out: "Is there a daguerreotypist in the house?" Whereupon Grant leapt to his aid to find out this guy was none other than Steven "30 million a year" Spielberg. So touched by being personally touchˇd by a real daguerreotypist he came to his senses said "You wanna be in the movie?" From flatten to flatter, the rest is, or will be history come December. Watch Siskel and Ebert for all the thumbs.
From the cutting room floor: For a couple months I went back and forth with at least 8 different people on the details of making a dag of one of the cast from a production company doing a film in Philadelphia. The deal was worked out, I did the dag and sent it to them on a Friday. The following Tuesday I got a frantic call from the director on the set: "We have a big problem." What is the problem? "Well....the picture is....well....so shiny!" Yes, that's true, its a daguerreotype. "But it isn't anything like the old one in the case we sent you." Yes, that's true. The one that was in the case is an ambrotype. "What's that?" I explain. "Oh?" I explain the difference. "oooooOOOOOOoooooh!....can I call you back?" I haven't heard back. It's time to unionize.
So impressed, they were with Jerry's promotional daguerreotype, the Oakland Museum ponied up and had him to do a dag and pony show. In a bit of a rush to make the gig, he forgot to bring a lens. Some eagle eye in the crowd noticed and brought up the point. Jerry, tap shoes twinkling, was quick to explain that the first daguerreotypists didn't have lenses. They bought it--hook line and plate--and asked if he would do another show later this summer.
Jerry also passed on his latest technique of cleaning plates that is worthy of note. The sequence being: scour with rottenstone, buff with rouge, clean wheel buff, electro-clean, rinse, acid dip, water rinse, distilled water rinse, dry, hand buff with rouge, and finally clean buff. Adding a silver plating step would be the procedure for galvanizing. The chemicals and instructions are available from Rio Grande 1-800-545-6566.