The Book Of … is a series of photography books by American artist LG Williams. The Book Of [Your Name Here] series, originating in January 2015, is an artistic re-examination of the “miracle” of the daguerreotype photograph, in which the artist reaches back to the birth of photography.
On August 19, 1839 the French Academy of Sciences announced the invention of the daguerreotype by the scene painter and physicist Louis-Jaques-Mande Daguerre (1787-1851). Word of the discovery spread swiftly, and the daguerreotype photography enjoyed great popularity until the 1850s, especially in America where the process was free from patent restrictions.
While there was great demand for portraits captured by the “miracle” of photography, early daguerreotype technology had its shortcomings. The necessarily long exposure times that were required to capture an image, fifteen minutes on average under bright lights, led to necessarily inevitable lacunae in representing the subject. The resulting single image daguerreotypes are de facto composites of the lapsed long exposure time, but not, as was purported, scientifically captured replicas of both time and image.
This publication and series presents an opportunity for Williams to provide an artistic, political, and social perspective on the missing truths, images, and loss of time that occurred during the age of Daguerre. In other words, each book from this single-portrait-series consists of hundreds of continuous images during a fifteen-minute stretch of time, or just about as many images as the artist could take as fast as possible using his out-dated FujiFilm FinePix Z70 3-MP Digital Camera. From this historical perspective, Williams’ series points to the limitations of daguerreotype photography with the seemingly limitless possibilities of contemporary analogue-image capture and production.
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