Dr. Mike 


Mike Robinson's PhD dissertation, The Techniques and Material Aesthetics of the Daguerreotype explains why daguerreotypes look the way they do. It does this by retracing the pathway of discovery and innovation described in historical accounts, and combining this historical research with artisanal, tacit, and causal knowledge gained from synthesizing new daguerreotypes in the laboratory. Admired for its astonishing clarity and holographic tones, each daguerreotype contains a unique material story about the process of its creation. Clues from the historical record that report improvements in the art have been tested in practice to explicitly understand the cause for effects described in texts and observed in historic images. This research raises awareness of the materiality of the daguerreotype as an image, and the materiality of the daguerreotype as a process.

Portrait © Alexander Dzhus

Bry-sur-Marne, 2009

Bry-sur-Marne, 2009

The Colours of the Daguerreotype,  Mercury Variations

The Colours of the Daguerreotype, Mercury Variations

Penumbra Foundation NYC, Daguerreotype Workshop 2016

Penumbra Foundation NYC, Daguerreotype Workshop 2016

Image Object Exhibition NYC, 2013

Image Object Exhibition NYC, 2013

Lecuture 2013,  The Colours of the Daguerreotype

Lecuture 2013, The Colours of the Daguerreotype


Exposition Daguerre, le Génie de l'image, Villa Daguerre, Bry-sur-Marne, France November 22 - December 9, 2018.

Red Light, Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto ON, May 2 - June 29, 2018

Photography in its Birthplace, Fox Talbot Museum, UK,  Sept 2017 - January 2018

Mirrors with Memory: Daguerreotypes from Library and Archives Canada National Gallery of Canada, Sept. 2015 - April 2016.

Image Object, Penumbra Foundation, NYC 2013

The Art Gallery of Ontario, Photography Galleries, Toronto, ON, 2008 - 2012

Exposition " Vanité, Mort, que me veux-tu ? " YSL Gallery, Paris, France, 2010 

The Philippe de Montebello Years,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Oct. 2008 - Feb. 2009

Daguerréotypes contemporains internationaux et Diorama de Bry-sur-Marne, Bry-sur-Marne France, 2009

The Intimate Gaze, Campbell House Museum, Toronto ON, May 2009

Daguerreian Niche, The Daguerreian Society, Pittsburgh, PA, September 2005

History in the Making, The Ryerson Gallery, Toronto, ON, May 2004

Secret Victorians, The Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego, CA, March 2003

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, June 2002

Mirror with a Memory, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO, November 2001


Published Work

Topics in Photographic Preservation 2015   A Twin Paradox: A Study of Preservation and Disfigurement of Southworth and HawesDaguerreotypes

The Daguerreian Annual, 2014   Sterling C. McIntyre’s Panoramic Views of San Francisco

The Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2010   Monitoring the photographic process, degradation and restoration of 21st century Daguerreotypes by wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

The Daguerreian Annual, 2007  The Southworth and Hawes Studio: a virtual tour of their Operating Room

Young America; The Daguerreotypes of Southworth and Hawes, 2005  Article A Style Peculiar to Themselves: an investigation into the techniques of Southworth and Hawes 

Coming into Focus, 2001  Albumen and salted paper chapter for the textbook on alternative photographic processes

The Daguerreian Annual, 2000  The Making of 20 Daguerreotypes


Lectures and Workshops

Villa Daguerre, Bry-sur-Marne, France, 2018

SMP International Photo Conservation Studio, Genzano di Roma, Italy, 2018

The Museum of Organic Culture, Kolomna, Russia, 2017

Penumbra Foundation, New York, 2016-2019 

Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum 2011 - 2019

The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, 1997 - 2015 

AIC Photo Materials Group, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 2015

Daguerreotype housing workshop, Amherst College, MA, 2010

The Daguerreian Society Annual Symposium, 1997 - 2015

Mellon Collaborative Workshop in Daguerreotype Conservation at Harvard, 2009

Peter’s Valley Craft Centre, Layton, NJ, 2008 - 2010

Aperture Foundation, New York, NY, 2006

f295 Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA, 2007

McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA, 2005

Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN, 2004

The Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, 2004

The National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2003 - 2004

The Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO, 2001