Today is History features three contemporary artists who are working with 19th century photographic processes to talk about present day concerns. The show consists of tintypes by Dan Estabrook, orotones by Kate Breakey and daguerreotypes by Jerry Spagnoli.
Over the next few weeks, we will share behind the scenes photos, videos and explanations about how each photographer uses these historical processes. We will start by defining and learning how to make a daguerreotype.
“Louis J.M. Daguerre introduced the Daguerreotype process to the public in 1839. The Daguerreotype was the first and only successful photographic process until the 1850s. During the 1840s and 1850s, Daguerreotype plates were commercially produced and easily available. The plates were replaced in the 1860s by the Calotype, which were much cheaper and easier to produce.
Daguerreotypes are created by polishing a silver plate, then exposing it to the vapors of iodine and bromine, which produces silver salts on the surface. The coated plate then goes directly into the camera, where it is exposed to light. After the plate is exposed to light, it is developed by being exposed to heated mercury fumes, and fixed by pouring sodium thiosulfate over the plate.” [Source: Alternative Processes: Daguerreotype with Jerry Spagnoli]
In this video Jerry Spagnoli explains the process of making a daguerreotype.
Jerry Spagnoli (b. 1956 New York City, NY) is credited as today’s preeminent photographer working with the daguerreotype, a polished copper plate treated with mercury vapor. Using this material, Spagnoli has photographed significant historical events, including the horrors of the World Trade Center and the beauty of Times Square on the eve of the Millennium. In his 2012 series, Glasses, Spagnoli tackles the reflective quality of everyday water glasses. As he states, “Ultimately my use of various materials and methods is centered in my desire to make complicated stories out of the everyday world, which is my apparent subject matter. Photography allows me to engage viewers with images and ideas which are filtered through the abstracting apparatus of the camera and woven into the matrix of its rich history.
You can see all of Jerry’s work includeding Today is History on our website. They are also on view at the gallery until December 31!
We are excited to share two new pieces by Francesco Pergolesi! To see more images from his Hereos series visit our website.
Temple guardians of a little vanishing world, brave and full of passion, they valiantly defend the meeting places for human exchange and relationships, set in unpretentious frames, nibbled by the passing of time.
As survivors on a tiny damaged raft, they face restlessness and greed, on a dangerous sea that doesn’t care about the past and its traditions, smashing together people and principles, obeying the march of progress.
Before it’s too late I shelter memories smelling of yellow paper, and “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” like a freshly gathered broad bean listening to the gossip of old pilgrims, religiously sitting on green Formica chairs, conserving cloth in dusty trunks and expert hands. They cut cloth in the dead of night, while I preserve pure white clouds made by an ancient pink oven, as old as time; work done by glue and saw, buds and sharp prickles, made by a real good morning and good night!
Andy is a commercial and fine art photographer based in Chicago. The following are a few images from his series, Charreada, along with his artist statement. Visit The Chicago Project website to see more of his work.
The Charreada, predecessor to the American Rodeo.
What began as a curious look into a sport I was unfamiliar with became a fascinating journey into the world of the Charro, a proud culture filled with ordinary Mexican Americans who suit up on the weekends to keep their tradition alive. The time and money spent perfecting these skills handed down from 100 years ago is an incredible spectacle to behold. It’s a dangerous sport and the rewards are often little or nothing with men commonly getting injured. Tradition can be a good enough reason to participate in something but there is a shared importance and comfort here that I think helps these dedicated horsemen stay connected to each other and to a heritage that must seem far away.
If you are interested in learning more about The Chicago Project or would like information on how to submit, click HERE. The next Chicago Project exhibition, featuring new artists in the project, is scheduled for Summer 2017!
In Sandro Miller’s new collaboration with John Malkovich, Psychogenic Fugue, David Lynch’s most iconic scenes and characters come alive! After their successful Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich– Homage to photographic masters (2014) photo project, Sandro directs John Malkovich again, this time as the Log Lady from cult ’90s TV show Twin Peaks; Frank Booth from Blue Velvet and many more, including David Lynch himself!
Sandro also made a short movie hosted by Squarespace, Playing Lynch, which he calls “A collaborating meditation on the work of David Lynch“. Scenes can be downloaded individually or as a complete 20-minute movie for $10. The donations will go to the David Lynch Foundation. The movie’s soundtrack, The Music of David Lynch, features many artists including Zola Jesus, Sky Ferreira, Duran, Duran.
Visit CEG’s website to see the entire Psychogenic Fugue series!
Chicago has been a flutter about the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition, Van Gogh’s Bedroom. The entire city has participated in the Van Gogh fever, including CEG! Gregory Scott has been inspired by Van Gogh, as can be seen by his piece completed last year, Van Gogh’s Bedroom, 2015. This piece has been on view in the gallery concurrent with the Art Institute exhibition. Visit CEG to experience Gregory Scott’s playful version of the famous bedroom!