Daguerreotype workshop with Mike Robinson: 27-28-29 June

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From 27 to 29 June 2018 SMP Studio will host a workshop on the daguerreotype held by the great Canadian specialist Mike Robinson. Three full days will be dedicated to learning this wonderful technique dating back to the dawn of photography, using the methods perfected by the professional photographers of the time (1850).

Roger Watson, curator of the Fox Talbot Museum, will introduce the workshop with a presentation on the history of the procedure and its diffusion in Great Britain and in the United States, and Sandra Petrillo will talk about the aesthetics of European daguerreotypes and the main issues regarding their conservation. There will also be the opportunity to examine Roger Watson’s collections of daguerreotypes in addition to the educational collection of the SMP Studio.

Mike Robinson


After a demonstration of the various stages of the procedure, Mike Robinson will assist each participant in realizing two 82 x 108 mm daguerreotypes on the Centuryroom daguerreotype clad plates which have been produced and recently perfected. The polishing and cleaning of the silver-coated plates will be performed using both traditional and modern techniques. Before studying the techniques of creating daguerreotype images outdoors and in the studio, we will also examine problems related to controlling the contrast of the image, by learning bromine sensitization techniques and several alternative methods.


The daguerreotypes will be developed by exposing the silver plates to mercury vapour, using new equipment, recently developed by Mike Robinson, which greatly improves user safety. They will then be fixed by means of sodium hyposulphite and gilded in a gold chloride solution. The plates will finally be housed in handmade enclosures for their conservation, with a decorative passe-partout, using high-quality materials supplied by the SMP Studio, which will ensure their preservation over time.The chemicals, two clad plates for each participant and the materials for the housing of the plate are all included in the cost of enrolment in the workshop.




Mike Robinson is a specialist in the daguerreotype process which he practices for his own artistic aims as well as for purposes of study and research. He has taught the history of 19th century photographic processes at Ryerson University in Toronto. In 2017 he obtained a doctorate in the history of photography at the De Montfort University in Leicester (England). His degree thesis was entitled “The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype” . He has made several important historical contributions concerning the professional activity of the American daguerreotypists “Southworth & Hawes”, which have been published in the important catalogue entitled: Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes”, as well as in the annual journal of the Daguerreian Society.



Roger Watson


Roger Watson is currently the curator of the Fox Talbot Museum in the village of Lacock, in Wiltshire where he has supervised the cataloguing of the entire archive of Fox Talbot’s photographic images and writings. He was also one of the referents in the project The Correspondence of W.H.F. Talbot coordinated by the University of Glasgow, and he is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the online W.H.F. Talbot Catalogue Raisonné. Watson has curated many important photographic exhibitions and he wrote the book: Capturing the Light – The Birth of Photography in collaboration with Helen Rappaport, which was published in 2013.


Modalities of enrolment on the course:

The workshop is intended for artists, students, teachers, photography restorers and amateur enthusiasts.

Due to the complexity of the technical procedures involved and the careful attention required for carrying them out successfully, the course will be limited to a maximum number of six people.

Course location:

SMP International Photo Conservation Studio
Piazza Mazzini, 26
00045 Genzano di Roma – Italy

Dates and times: 27-28-29 June: 10am – 1pm / 2pm – 6pm
Language: English / Italian
Cost: € 950.00 including VAT

The chemicals, two silver-coated plates for each participant and the materials for the housing of the plate are all included in the cost of enrolment in the workshop.

Enrolment deadline: 31st May 2018


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Participants on the course who are not residents of Rome will be able to stay at the Antica Locanda Specchio di Diana in the town of Nemi with half board or at Genzano di Roma, in the B&B La Casa di Miledy.

For more information, please contact Sandra M. Petrillo:

Telephone: +39 06-96843954

Mobile: +39 339-2535384

Email: smphotoconservation@gmail.com

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