Author

JP O’Connor, by vocation, is a software and database professional specializing in data warehouse, decision support, and data visualization. By avocation, he is a coach and official in the sport of Olympic rifle and pistol target shooting. His specialty is applied sports psychology to train athletes to thrive and win under pressure.

JP also enjoys amateur (ham) radio with Amateur Extra license WF4Z, mountain hiking, and photography, both digital and film, including large format. Earlier in life he also enjoyed motorcycle road racing, singing, genealogy (where he was a contributing editor to Genealogical Computing and helped completely reshape the design of modern genealogy software for use by individual researchers), and earned a varsity letter in football as the video tape manager at Cincinnati Moeller High School under Coach Gerry Faust.

JP began his own photography at the age of 7 with a simple “half frame” (24 exposures) 127 roll film camera. In high school, photography became a priority with his work on the yearbook staff and outside artistic and commercial work. This continued through college where he was staff photographer for the Mandala, the student newspaper of the Raymond Walters campus of University of Cincinnati. Clients included the university, Congressman Tom Luken, school yearbook photography firms, and many others doing publicity, spot news, commercial product, and yes, weddings. He enjoyed night photography as well as landscape, model, and street photography.

JP worked with 35mm, medium format, and large format (4×5) cameras, including working with antique 8×10 and whole plate (6.5″ x 8.5″) cameras and had a fully equipped black & white and color darkroom with two enlarging stations, one equipped with a medium format enlarger and the other a 4×5 enlarger.

After a 30 year hiatus, except for family snapshots, JP returned to the hobby to discover that the world had changed – more than a little! He is now learning all about digital photographic “processing” and software and enjoying the amazing things that can be done with a high end digital camera and software. He also still enjoys using all his original film cameras.

Sadly, most of his prior work (primarily black and white negative and color slide) no longer exists due to circumstances beyond his control. Surviving are two albums: a small collection of 8×10 black and white prints from high school and college days, and an album of color, form, and texture studies taken with the Polaroid SX-70 camera and instant film system.

JP’s primary photographic interests are learning more about the artistic side of photography (to go with his existing technical knowledge), landscape, model, and night photography.

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In addition to his interest in modern film and paper processes, JP has a keen interest in the early photographic process, especially platinum printing and the Daguerreotype. The Daguerreotype is often considered to be the first photographic process, though others came about at roughly the same time or shortly thereafter, because it was the first commercially viable and broadly used process. It was a reversal process involved highly polished silver plated copper sheets as the “film” and “print” such that, the silver surface was exposed to fumes of bromine and iodine, then exposed, then “developed” with fumes from heated mercury. This is all very poisonous! Finally, the image was chemically “fixed” and the photograph was finished. Due to the highly fragile nature of the image (mercury “condensation” on a silver plate), the photographs were encased in frames or cases with a protective glass in front of the image, separated by a mat.

With his special interest in the Daguerreotype, JP was privileged to experience two things on that topic during the middle of the 1970s.

  1. JP was granted the privilege to spend an entire day at The Ohio State University working one-on-one with a professor who taught him the Daguerreotype process, becoming one of only about a hundred or so people world wide who knew how to do the process at the time. Sadly, the name of the generous professor has disappeared in the memory fog of time.
  2. At the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCHC) resides the famous 8 full plate sized panel Daguerreotype panorama of the Cincinnati waterfront taken in 1848, officially attributed to Charles Fontayne and William Porter, though likely taken alone by Porter. This is considered an extremely important early photograph since it is said to be the earliest photograph of an American city, inland steamboats, railroad terminal, and freed slaves. JP was granted the privilege of being taken into the closed stacks area of the PLCHC rare book rooms where he viewed the original Daguerreotypes in their original frame. This frame and image set had traveled and been displayed at some of the largest expositions of the era, including the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851. What an impressive sight of an exceedingly rare historical item! Some thirty years later, technology allowed researchers at the George Eastman House and the Rochester Institute of Technology to carefully scan and restore the originals.

Additional information for item (2) above:

PLCH Site
http://www.cincinnatilibrary.org/panorama/

Historical paper/talk regarding the panorama and its history up to 1947
http://virtuallibrary.cincinnatilibrary.org/virtuallibrary/vl_oldrare.aspx?ResID=137

Ohio Memory Project Site
http://www.ohiomemory.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p267401coll36/id/4168

More history of the panorama
http://www.codex99.com/photography/5.html

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