The Expanding Domain

The Open Door
  • Please form groups of three students.
  • Choose one member of the group to describe the photo placed on your table to the other members. DO NOT allow the other members to see the photo!
  • One member draws the image that is being described.
  • Using the visual terminology provided on the Getty handouts, the third member writes a clear and cocise description of the photo.
  • All three members review the photo and consider what elements are missing from their description.
William Fox Talbot, The Open Door, 1843. Salted paper print from calotype negative.











Salted paper:

Soaked in salt concentration
Coated on one side with silver nitrate
Contact printed with negative image
William Henry Fox Talbot, Talbot at Laycock Abbey, Salt print from a calotype negative, early 1840s.











Wet-Collodion Process

1848 Frederick Scott Archer exposes iodized collodion while it is wet, resulting in a great improvement of the calotype process
collodion (pyroxylin) = a mixture of cellulose nitrates that is less explosive than guncotton, soluble in a mixture of organic solvents, and used especially in making plastics, coatings such as lacquers, as a coating for wonds or for photographic films






















Sally Mann, Last Light, 1989.











Commercial photographers quickly adopted the wet-collodion process
transparency = a direct translation of reality in which subjects were not suggested, as in the calotype and daguerreotype, but were clearly stated adn defined without overt intervention
Wet-Plate Camera

wet-plate chemicals

Wet-Plate Chemicals











Wet-Collodion Spin-Off Processes:
Ferrotype or Tintype













Introduced in 1854
Positive image on glass with an opaque black backing
One-of-a-kind image
Housed in Union Case, just like a daguerreotype
Unknown Photographer, Untitled Portrait,
Ambrotype with half the backing removed to show positive and negative effect.












Tintype/ Ferrotype

  • Ambrotype image made on a thin piece of metal instead of glass
  • Metal plate painted black with asphaltum, then coated with light sensitive collodion solution
  • One-of-a-kind image



Considered an instant process
Unknown, Civil War Soldier, c. 1862. Tintype.











Making a Tintype











Albumen paper

Albumen paper manufacture

1850 first practical prepared paper produced with
albumen = egg white
  • Paper is made light sensitive by 'floating' it on top of a tray filled with silver nitrate solution (producing light sensitive silver chloride in the albumen layer)
  • Paper is hung to dry in the dark
  • Exposed in contact with a negative image
Albumen paper manufacture





















Salted paper print
from calotype negative
Albumen paper print

Southworth and Hawes, Portrait of an Unknown Woman, c. 1850.
David Octavius Hill, Miss Crampton of Dublin, c. 1845.
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt, 1865.












Brig Upon the Water

Albumen print advantages:
Smooth, glossy surface that looked modern
Provided sharper, better contrasted, more detailed print
Provided consistency not possible with calotypes
Gustave Le Gray, Brig Upon the Water, 1856. Albumen print.













carte-de-visite = visiting card
Wet-plate image created with a multi-lens camera and printed on albumen paper
Carte-de-visite camera











Unidentified Woman

Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi, Princess Buonaparte Gabrielli, 1862.
Uncut albumen print from a carte-de-visite negative.


more portrait cartes











Hugh Mangum, Portrait Carte de Visites, 1890s