In 1864 the world was fascinated with the new technology of photography. Images were being captured in new and exciting ways, reality was being fixed using light and chemistry. Artists and enthusiasts and alchemists were experimenting with all sorts of ways to create photographic images. John Towler M.D. wrote “The Silver Sunbeam” a ground breaking book of recipes for the first handbook of photographic processes. He subtitled it “A Practical and Theoretical Text-Book on Sun Drawing and Photographic Printing: comprehending all the Wet and Dry Processes at present known, with CCollodion, Albumen, Gelatine, Wax, Resin and Silver; as also Heliographic Engraving, Photolithography, Photozincography, Celestial Photography, Photography in Natural Colors …….” Digitized versions of the 1864 original are available.
It was a very special book and a rousing success “due to it’s remarkable comprehensiveness. There is hardly a single photographic process then known [in 1864] that is not described in such detail that any competent operator can work it now. It is a prime source of information about photographic technology in the formative years between 1839 and 1863.” (from the Morgan and Morgan reprint dust jacket.) Morgan and Morgan published a reprint of the book in 1969 which can usually be found on Amazon despite being out of print.
And now I have published my own limited edition artist book of this iconic book.
In my edition of ten the book is 3D printed in a translucent PLA resin with a wet-plate tintype on the front and sealed inside is a USB flash drive holding the PDF of the 1864 edition encased in a facsimile of the book. The 3D printed hinged box is hand rubbed silver patinated PLA resin with a unique glass plate photogram in the cover.
book 5.875″ x 4″ x 1″, box 7″ x 5.125″ x 2″ Edition of 10, $4000 each