My name is Jonathan Danforth and I'm a Daguerreotype artist.
My Website http://www.shinyphotos.com has lots more information, go check it out, OK?
The Daguerreotype was the first patented photographic process. Patented by Daguerre in 1839 after ripping off substantial portions of the technology from Joseph-Nicephore Niepce in the 1820s and 1830s, the Daguerreotype was heralded at the time as an amazing invention. The Daguerreotype remained popular for only a short time (25 years or so at the most) because it was (and remains) expensive, irreproducible, and tricky to make in the first place. Why did a technology that had so much going against it stick around for so long? Daguerreotypes are beautiful in the way that diamonds are beautiful. Precious and rare is the Daguerreotype.
Silver + iodine + light + UV = photograph.
Check out the attached video clip to see what it looks like to hold a finished Daguerreotype in your (my) hand.
I'm dumping a lot of information about the process in the various steps so check 'em out.
Step 1: Getting Started
You should get pretty damn close to a mirror finish with this process. Most daguerreotypists will next go on to a hand-buffing stage. I use powdered black iron oxide on a velvet board. See image.