If You’re Going to Kansas City, Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Daguerre(otype)

By Stephanie Murg Comment

daguerreian.jpg Getting an early start on your holiday shopping for the art director or photo editor who has everything? How about a nice daguerreotype portrait? Contemporary daguerreotypist Rob McElroy will be on hand at this year’s Daguerreian Society Symposium, which runs from Thursday through Sunday at the newly Steven Hollified Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and he’ll be pleased to preserve your likeness in that eerie, mirrory, unduplicatable format that took the 1840s by storm. (May we suggest clutching posies, cradling an 1841 Navy sword, or rocking a propeller tie?)

The symposium itself will include a celebration of the museum’s recently acquired Hallmark Photographic Collection, a jaw-dropping 6,500 works by 900 artists, including everyone from “dag” legends Southworth & Hawes to Lee Friedlander and Cindy Sherman. Attendees can also check out “Developing Greatness: The Origins of American Photography, 1839-1885,” curated by Keith Davis, longtime director of Hallmark’s fine arts program and now photo curator at the Nelson-Atkins.

And should you find yourself locked in a heated Becquerel-versus-mercury debate with Daguerreian Society types, we suggest that you defuse things with a toast that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser: May your daguerreotypes never oxidize!