Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									THE BEGINNINGS...
Photography-the name from Sir John Herschel
- first used the term in 1839, (year the photographic
process became public)

-The word is derived from the Greek words for light and

-Herschel used the term first in a lecture before the Royal
Society on March 14, 1839, he was beaten to the post by
an anonymous writer with the initials "J.M." a few weeks
earlier, on February 25
(Eventually determined to be Johann von Maedler
(1794-1874), who was an astronomer in Berlin)

Hershel was the person who, with his fame and position,
made the word "photography" known to the world.

The idea of photography existed long before the
camera was invented
-Conceptual basis for photography: The human urge to
make pictures that augment the faculty of memory by
capturing time:

-first goal: to expedite the picture making process.
(primary function of visual arts was to capture likeness of
someone or something worth commemorating...)

-An uncanny prediction made by a man called de la Roche
(1729- 1774) in a fictional work called Giphantie.
-In his tale, it was possible to capture images from nature,
on a canvas which had been coated with a sticky
substance. This surface, so the tale goes, would not only
provide a mirror image on the sticky canvas, but would
remain on it. After it had been dried in the dark the image
would remain permanent.

“That window, that vast horizon, those black clouds, that
raging sea, are all but a picture... You know that the rays
of light, reflected from different bodies, form a picture, and
paint the image reflected on all polished surfaces, for
instance, on the retina of the eye, on water, and on glass.
The elemental spirits have sought to fix these fleeting
images; they have composed a subtle matter, very viscous
and quick to harden and dry, by means of which a picture
is formed in a twinkling of an eye. They coat a piece of
canvas with this matter, and hold it in front of objects they
wish to paint. The first effect of the canvas is similar to
that of a mirror; one sees there all objects, near and far,
the image off which light can transmit. But what a glass
cannot do, the canvas by means of viscous matter, retains
the images The mirror represents the objects faithfully,
but retains them not; our canvas shows them with the
same exactness, and retains them all. This impression of
the image is immediately carried away into some dark
place. An hour later the impression is dry, and you have
to picture that more valuable in that it cannot be imitated
by art or destroyed by time...The correctness of the
drawing, the truth of the expression, the stronger or
weaker strokes, the gradation of the shades, the rules of
perspective, all these we leave to Nature, who with sure
and never-erring hand, draws upon our canvases images
which deceive the eye.”

(de la Roche--prophetic this tale, only a few decades after
his death)

There are two distinct scientific processes that
combined make photography possible.

-These processes had been known for quite some
time (separately).
-Not until the two distinct scientific processes had
been put together that photography came into being.

The first of these processes was optical.

-5th century BC, Chinese philosopher Mo Ti
discovered that light reflecting from an illuminated object
and passing through a pinhole into a darkened area would
form an exact, but inverted image of that object, offering a
prototype of the pinhole camera (lens-less camera).

-Aristotle, Greek philosopher in 330 BCE (384-322BCE)
observed a crescent-shaped image of the sun during a
partial eclipse as projected through the small opening
between the leaves of a tree onto the ground.

-The Camera Obscura (Latin for room darkened or Dark
room) was a dark box or room with a hole in one end. If
the hole was small enough, an inverted image would be
seen on the opposite wall.

-The Camera Obscura --in existence for at least 400 yrs.

-Its first use was for the viewing of solar eclipses; without
harming the eyes by looking directly at the sun.

-a drawing, dated 1519, of a Camera Obscura by
Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an
aid to drawing was being advocated.

10th century AD, Arabian mathematician Alhazen (aka
Ibn Al Haitham), described what can be called a camera
obscura in his writings; manuscripts of his observations
are to be found in the India Office Library in London. (disc.
image sharper as aperture/opening became smaller)

In his essay "On the form of the eclipse" he wrote:
"The image of the sun at the time of the eclipse, unless it
is total, demonstrates that when its light passes through a
narrow, round hole and is cast on a plane opposite to the
hole it takes on the form of a moon-sickle. The image of
the sun shows this peculiarity only when the hole is very
small. When the hole is enlarged, the picture changes... ."

-1267 in Roger Bacon’s treatise Perspectiva and De
multiplicatione specie rum he indicates use of optical
principals to contrive an arrangement of mirrors to project
images of solar eclipses, as well as views of his house
interiors and street scenes. (CO w/ mirrors)
-1279, John Peckhan, the Archbishop of Canterbury
and possible student of Bacon, remarks about observing a
solar eclipse through a darkened piece.

Background: Renaissance
-New focus on science, experimentation and observation
over an authorities’ (religious monarchs) unproven word of
what was real, ---new look to an open process not
predicated by belief or magic.

-Besides praying to go to other worlds, people built large
ocean-bound ships and complex machines to carry their
physical bodies out of the Old World into a new material
-Educated society shifted towards objective, documented,
repeatable facts
- science as an alternative to faith.

-1413 Birth of Linear Perspective fathered by Filippo
Brunelleschi of Italy (& Romans)
(objects are foreshortened as they recede into space and
lines converge to a vanishing point that corresponds to the
spectator’s viewpoint.

-1435, Leon Battista Alberti’s treatise On painting ,
compares the picture plane to a window and advocates
the use of geometric linear perspective in picture making.
-Led to artists constructing and eyepiece for the
convention of viewing a scene through one eye at one
place at one time (in order to compress 3D space and
easier visual observation for recreation on a flat
surface)--Device for "miracles in painting".

-Changes in mapmaking: 15th century produced
geometrically consistent maps in 2D guides; versus
previous adjustment of size and position of a site
according to its cultural significance.
-New mass printed & illustrated books+ access by larger

1490-The earliest written record of description & uses of a
camera obscura in 2 notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
(1452-1519; not pub. until 1797):
“A large dark room that an artist physically entered. Light
entered through a small hole in one of the walls and
projected a distinct but inverted, color image onto the
opposite wall that could then be traced.”

1521- Cesare Cesariano, pupil of Leonardo da Vinci
described the camera obscura in an annotation in his
edition of Vitrruvius’s De architectura in which an image of
everything outside the room can be seen.

1545 Dutch physician & mathematician Reiner Gemma
Frisius first published an illustration of a camera obscura
in De radio astronomico et geometrico liber.
-Leonardo Alberti invented a device as a sort of camera
obscura which he called “miracles of painting.”

-Albrecht Durer 1471-1528)uses camera-based
principles of perspective and proportion in his drawings.
1550-Girolamo Cardano, a Milanese physician, inserted
a bi-convex lens (thick in middle) in the aperture of the
camera obscura in order to form brighter & sharper image.
(in his work, De subtilitate)

-1558, Giovanni Battista della Porta (1538-1615)
published in his treatise in Magiae naturalis (Natural
Magic) -most extensive description on record and 1st
recommended use as as aid in drawing-
“The Manner in which one can perceive in the dark the
things on the outside are illuminated by the sun, and with
their colors...will make possible for anyone ignorant of the
art of painting to draw with a pencil or pen the image
(made by the camera obscura) of any object whatsoever.”
...“If you cannot paint, you can by this arrangement draw
(the outline of the images) with a pencil. You have then
only to lay on the colors. This is done by reflecting the
image downwards on to a drawing-board with paper. And
for a person who is skillful this is a very easy matter.”
-Porta’s Magiae naturalis was one of the best-known
works on poplar science published in the 16th Century,
published in many editions & languages.
-Second enlarged edition 31 years later Porta expands to
portraiture with a sitter posed in direct sunlight outside the
room and in front of the aperture in the window-shutter.

Also- mirror in CO to reverse image & CO to make
nighttime court dramas with torch-light:
-published what is believed to be the first account of the
possibilities as an aid to drawing. It is said that he made a
huge "camera" in which he seated his guests, having
arranged for a group of actors to perform outside so that
the visitors could observe the images on the wall.
-The story goes, that the sight of upside down performing
images was too much for the visitors; they panicked and
fled, and Battista was later brought to court on a charge of
-Despite Battista's account associated with the study of
the occult, it is likely that from that time onwards many
artists used a camera obscura to aid them in drawing but
because of the association with the occult, or
-Because they felt that in some way their artistry was
lessened, few would admit to using one...

1568-Daniel Barbaro, a Venetian nobleman, in La Pratica
della perspecttiva mentions adding lens diaphragms of
various sizes so that the image can be sharpened.
-Barbaro also used a convex lens.&recomm. the camera
as an aid to drawing and perspective. He wrote:
"Close all shutters and doors until no light enters the
camera except through the lens, and opposite hold a piece
of paper, which you move forward and backward until the
scene appears in the sharpest detail. There on the paper
you will see the whole view as it really is, with its
distances, its colors and shadows and motion, the clouds,
the water twinkling, the birds flying. By holding the paper
steady you can trace the whole perspective with a pen,
shade it and delicately color it from nature."

1573 Egnatio Danti, a Florentine mathematician &
astronomer in La prospettiva di Euclide published the
improvements of adding a concave mirror to correct the
inverted image.

Giovanni Canale - better known as Canaletto (1697-
1768), Vermeer (1632-1675), Joshua Reynolds
(1723-1792), and
Paul Sandby (1725-1809), a founding member of the
Royal Academy.

-Some, including Joshua Reynolds, warned against the
indiscriminate use of the camera obscura, others, notably
Algarotti, a writer on art and science; a highly influential
man amongst artists
--strongly advocated its use in his Essays on Painting
"The best modern painters among the Italians have
availed themselves of this contrivance; nor is it possible
that they should have otherwise represented things so
much to the life... Let the young painter, therefore, begin
as early as possible to study these divine pictures...
Painters should make the same use of the Camera
Obscura, which Naturalists and Astronomers make of the
microscope and telescope; for all these instruments
equally contribute to make known, and represent Nature."

-Same period, the lens was being developed...
-Roger Bacon's name is associated with this; some claim
he invented spectacles.

-Gerolomo Cardano (1501- 1576), an Italian
mathematician, introduced a glass disc in place of a
pinhole in his camera.
1646- Daniel Schwenter, Prof. of mathematics at
Altdorf University described in Deliciae
physico-mathematicae an elaborate lens-system
combining three different focal lengths.
-A scioptric ball or “ox-eye” consisted of a hollow,
revolvable wooden sphere with a hole bored through its
axis and a lens fitted a either end, each of a different focal
-Combined gave a shorter focus than either separately
-Screwed into a window-shutter of a darkened room, the
scioptric ball projected onto the opposite wall or screen,
pictures from all directions in which the ball was turned,
instead of only the view through the front window.
-Mentions it’s use by artist Hans Hauer in a panoramic
drawing of Nuremberg with excellent perspective.

Why -name lens? It is claimed...Italian lenses were
by-convex, they seemed to resemble the brown lentils
they used to make soup - "lens" came from the Latin for
The first cameras were enormous.
-16th century: brightness and clarity of camera obscuras
improved by enlarging the hole inserting a telescope lens.

Pre-1580 Friedrich Risner suggests the use of
portable camera obscuras; published posthumously
in 1606 in his Optics

-1611, Johannes Kelper, during a survey of upper Austria
in capacity as Imperial Mathematician, built a
proto-portable camera:
-a human-size tent that could be dismantled and
transported to make drawing easier:

-A black tent with a tube at the top for projection,
containing a bi-convex lens, and a mirror to reflect the
image down to the drawing-board.

-1646-Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) (ETCHING), a
Jesuit scholar & Prof. in Rome described & illustrated his
portable camera obscura in Ars magnus lucis et umbrae:
-light enough to be carried on poles by two men.
-consisted of an outer cube made of strong, lightweight
material with lenses in the center of each wall, and an
inner cube containing transparent paper for drawing on;
the artist needed to enter by a trapdoor on the floor.

-Tent-type cameras were in use up until the beginning
of the nineteen hundreds.
Then smaller, portable ones were made.
-The camera obscura, became a popular aid to

-Mid 17th Century: Johannes Kelper modifies and
scales down his camera so that the viewer remains
outside of it (made smaller) and views the image projected
onto a translucent window.
Kaspar Schott, Prof. of mathematics at Wurzburg, a
pupil of Kircher realized it wasn’t necessary for an artist to
get inside the camera; it would perfectly suffice to look
through a hole in its side.
1657 Kaspar Schott in Magica Optica says a traveler
returned from Spain and told him about a camera obscura
small enough to be carried under the arm.
- He then constructs one in the form of two boxes, one
slightly smaller then the other so that it could slide within
the other to adjust the focus.
-Two convex lenses were fitted in an adjustable tube and
“erect images obtained”.

-1676- Earliest reflex cameras described & illustrated
by Johann Christoph Sturm, Prof. of mathematics at
Altdorf, in Collegium ex-perimentale, sive curio sum:
-A plane mirror at a 45 degree angle to the lens reflected
the image right way up on to a piece of oiled paper
stretched across the opening in the top of the camera,
which was shaded by a hood for improved visibility of the

1685- Johann Zahn, a Premonstratensian monk at
Wurzburg, illustrated in Oculus artificialis teledioptricus,
several box camera types small enough to be taken
-The reflex type was 9 inches in height & width and 2 feet
in length
-Described with an opal-glass focusing screen (for the 1st
time) and painted black interior of the box and lens-tube
to avoid reflections.
-In size & design Zahn’s cameras are prototypes of 19th
Century photographic box & reflex cameras.
-Sedan chairs -converted into portable camera obscuras
used by artists.

-Lens aberrations are corrected to give better resolution &
made to produce images of different sizes (for different
needs of portrait and landscape artists)
-Image size in relation to the focal length and distance
from to a point of sharp focus.
-Instruction manuals for matching lenses with cameras
and situations appeared.
-Drawing shifted from the private act of a highly
trained individual to a broader commercial enterprise
that incorporated ideas of mass production and

18th Century: use of the camera obscura was
common knowledge among the educated;
-Long descriptions of the camera obscura apparatus were
included in most works on optics, treatises on painting,
and books on popular recreation
--CO tailored w/ Renn. demands of pictoral innear
perspective to make drawing easier & quicker.

Evidence of CO use in paintings of Jan Vermeer
-tight use of space
-unbalanced composition
-unusual POV
light at specific times of day
-detailed edges of frame
-use of pts of focus
-repres. through stillness of time
(new ways of seeing...)
-extreme detail

18th cent rising middle class wanted status
commemorated as rich
-inventors given incentives to use CO toward
portraiture (less artist training=less cost of
portrait)--machine based-systems in demand over

1786-The Physionotrace by Gilles Louis Chretien
-combo of portraiture, silouette & engraving--
-trace profile w/ stylus on glass; tool connected to
engraving tool which copied strokes onto copper plate in
one min;-smaller scale--plate used to make mulit-copies
- expanded portraiture to middle class & less need for
eye-hand coord.
-copied style of miniaturists
satisfied desire for accurate vis. description of
indivd's presence social status

1796-Aloys Senefelder Invents Lithography
-cheaper means of mass production & distrib. of printed
(Oil medium drawn on plate & oil based ink (=ink sticks
only to oil areas vs. water)

-wood engraving also used...for demand for multiples

1770's Phillip Jacques de Loutherbourg combines magic
lanterns with automatas w/ clock drivers (mechanical toys
& early slide projector)= Argand Oil Lamp
-1st mod lighting system for projected images onto a
screen w/ bean of light
-Eidophusikon = protean TV/theater stage 6ftH x 10ftw x
-colored lights w /A O L & sound fr revolving cylinders of
rocks & shells...
(show of Captain Cooks Voyages)
1788-Daily Universal Register: "...the most magnificent
(spectacle) that modern times has produced."

1826 The Drummond Light aka limelight replaced Argand
-more powerful & accurate beam of light
- use for ent, education & social change...

1800 Etienne Robert & Paul de Philipstal --the
Phantasmagoria (rear projection, live animals, smoke,
thunder in theater--moving images to advance, etc)

New Industrial Revolution = new vision of world, new
desires & new forms of rep. in visual arts
Gothic horror & live shows...
Cosmorama, Goerama, Neorama, Uranorama
-demand for beauty reshaped by new hunger

1807 Dr. William Wollaston designs the Camera
-Another aid to drawing, but worked in a different way, with
a reflecting prism which enabled artists to draw outlines in
correct perspective:
-No dark room was needed. The paper was laid flat on the
drawing board,
-The artist would look through a lens containing the prism,
so that he could see both the paper and a faint image of
the subject to be drawn. He would then fill in the image.
-The camera Lucida was difficult to use and still required
some amount of drawing skill.

Good drawing skills were expected of anyone in high
society (as a form of literacy), even as a scientist such as
William Henry Fox Talbot in England.
William Henry Fox Talbot had great difficulty drawing &
looked for other ways of forming an image without the use
of eye-hand coordination.
-1839 Fox Talbot bought several instruments including a
camera obscura for seven pounds fifteen shillings (£7.75).
-At that time the typical servant's wage would have
averaged between ten and twenty pounds per year.

The second process was chemical

-For hundreds of years before photography was invented,
people were aware that some colors are bleached in the
sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air
and light.
-The sixteen hundreds: Robert Boyle, a founder of the
Royal Society, had reported that silver chloride turned
dark under exposure, but he appeared to believe that it
was caused by exposure to the air, rather than to light.
-Early seventeenth century, Angelo Sala - noticed that
powdered nitrate of silver is blackened by the sun.

-1727 Johann Heinrich Schulze, prof. of anatomy at
the University of Altdorf near Nuremberg, observed the
darkening of silver salts when exposed to light and
concluded it was due to light alone (vs. air or heat)

-Professor J. Schulze in search for phosphorus
-mixes saturated chalk with nitric acid (that happened to
contain silver) in a flask; it was near an open window in
sunshine and he notices a purple darkening on side of
flask exposed to sunlight; the portion away from the light
remained white.
-Accidental creation of the first photosensitive compound
-He soon cut out letters in paper on the outside of a flask:
“Before long I found that the sun’s rays on the side which
they had touched the glass through the apertures in paper,
wrote the words or sentences so accurately and distinctly
on the chalk sediment, that many people... were led to
attribute the result to all kinds of artifices.”
-1927 Schultz published his findings in the transactions
of the Imperial Academy at Nuremberg, entitled
Scotophorus pro Phosphoro Inventus or “bringer of
darkness” vs. phosphorus, “bringer of light” (his goal).
-Known as a parlor trick in books on “rational recreations”
and in scientific circles.

-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele proved violet
rays of solar spectrum have a more rapid darkening effect
on silver chloride than other wavelengths; a disadvantage
in photography until the advent of panchromatic
emulsions, & caused an incorrect translation of colors of
nature in the monochromatic tonal scale.
1777 Scheele notes in Chemische Abhandlung von der
Luft und dem Feuer, silver chloride acted on by light
becomes insoluble ammonia.

1782- Jean Senebier, a librarian in Geneva, moves
Scheele’s work forward with the relative speed that
different spectrum colors darken silver chloride; 15
seconds for violet, 20 minutes for red), published in his
Memoires physico-chymiques sur l’influence de la lumiere
-Senbier also studies the effect of light on resins, finding
that some lose their solubility in turpentine after exposure
to light; hardening (later used by Nicephore Niepce)

-Nineteenth century: Thomas Wedgwood-first to
demonstrate the possibility of photography- he had
successfully captured images, but his silhouettes could not
survive, as there was no known method of making the
image permanent.
-1800: Thomas Wedgwood, (son of potter Josiah
Wedgwood) an amateur scientist attempts to make
photographs using the camera obscura and his knowledge
of the light sensitivity of silver nitrate (acquired from tutor
Alexander Chisholm; former chem. assistant of Dr William
Lewis, 1st in England to publish Schultz’s investigations)
-Wedgwood fails to fix the images “in any moderate
time” (does not define moderate...)
-His attempts at photography are published in the Journal
of the Royal institution, London, June 1802 by friend, Sir
Humphry Davy.
-Davy & Wedgwood make copies of insect’s’ wings,
leaves, and paintings on glass by laying them on paper or
white leather (more) sensitized with silver nitrate (as
discovered by Davy; also made photomicrographs.)
- These "sun pictures" were unfixed & deteriorated rapidly,
if displayed under light stronger than candlelight.
-Sir Humphry Davy, distinguished scientist, refers to
Scheele’s experiments and fails to notice his statement
that ammonia dissolves silver chloride unaffected by light,
and could have been used to fix the image!

1793 1st attempt to fix images by chemical means
were officers of French army station at Calgari, cap. of
Sardinia, and brothers f Joseph Nicephore and Claude
Niepce (reference to their experiments in a letter from J.
Nicéphore Niépce to Claude on Sept. 1824)

1813 (8 yrs. after death of Wedgwood) Joseph
Nicephore Niepce (from noble family; moved to outskirts
of France during French Revolution)
-Retired in country estate Gras near Chalon-sur-Saone,
revives earlier interest in lithography.
-lacking in artistic skill he attempts photochemical means
-lays engravings made transparent with wax on
lithographic stones coated with a light-sensative varnish
and exposed to sunlight; later with use of camera obscura
-1816: -as described to his brother Claude with use of
cameras, bi-convex lens, and a diaphragm:
"a small box six inches square, equipped with a tube that
can be lengthened, and will carry a lenticular glass (lens)
-Then replace it with a jewel case and the lens from a
microscope to build the world's first miniature camera
11/2inches square.
-April 1816: Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera
obscura with photosensitive paper (with silver-chloride)
and succeeds in taking a picture of the courtyard of his
house, and partially fixed with nitric acid; they were
negatives and unsuccessful in printing attempts with one
-His experiments with silver chloride as sent to Claude
were abandoned by Niepce because he obtained
negatives (temporarily fixed with water; debated first pics)
"The effect would be more striking," he told Claude, "if the
order of the shadows and the lights could be reversed."
Fixing: the process of removing from photographic
materials the unused light-sensitive solutions, thus making
the image more permanent.

-Had Thomas Wedgwood been able to fix his pictures, the
invention of photography would have been attributable to

- In a paper printed in the Edinburgh Philosophical
Journal, 8 January 1819, Sir John Herschel wrote,
"Muriate of silver (now known as silver chloride), newly
precipitated, dissolves in this salt (hyposulphite).... almost
as readily as sugar in water."
-Sodium thiosulphate (incorrectly known as Hypo) is still
primary fixing agent used today.
(Though fixing made prints more stable, fading was at first
a problem that needed to be addressed. One of the
causes was inadequate washing of prints after processing.
It was this instability that caused people to investigate
more lasting processes such as the Carbon one)

Niepce turns to Senebier’s materials of substances which
harden vs. darken when exposed...discovers bitumen of
Judea (a type of asphalt used as an engraving material for
its resistance to etching fluids) is sensitive to light and is
soluble in lavender oil; it would harden when exposed to
-July 1822 Niepce makes 1st successful photocopy of a
copperplate engraving by laying it on glass coated with
bitumen of Judea
-used zinc or pewter metal plates vs. glass for the ability to
etch on them & print from.
-He made paper engravings which he exposed to light for
2 hours and developed in a solution of petroleum and
lavender oil
-It forms a latent image. (without the use of a camera)
-1922 makes successful portrait of Cardinal d’Amboise
and as printed by the Parisian engraver Lemaitre following

-1826 the world’s first photograph positive, View From
The Window at Gras(1822-1827; debated--His son
Isadore in 1841 indicates in a letter that in 1824 ) Niepce
1st achieved a definitive permanent fixing of images, using
his 1st professionally made camera by pharmacist Charles
Chevalier onto a pewter plate of a view from his workroom
window (lost until found in a trunk in 1952):
-”with the pigeon house on the left, a pear tree with a
patch of sky showing through the branches, in the center
the slanting roof of the barn, on the right another wing of
the house; exposure about eight hours on a summer’s
-A one of a kind image that lacked a full tonal range.
-Required an exposure of eight hours.
-Permanent fixing with solvent of lavender oil & turpentine
(white petroleum)
-Niepce gave the name Heliographie (sun drawing) to both
the photographs made by camera and engravings made
by superposition (contact printing)
Sept. 1827 Niepce visits brother Claude at Kew near
London , bringing his camera view, the engraving of
Cardinal d’Amboise (1826-27), and other heliographic
-Meets botanical painter Francis Bauer who persuades
Niepce o address a memoir on the subject to King George
IV and to the Royal Society (both memoirs surfaced in
-He refuses to disclose the details of his process and is
dismissed by the Royal Society, giving Bauer his
equipment and prints and returns home.
-Niepce switches from pewter (too soft for litho plates) to
silver plated sheets of copper & improves the contrast by
blackening the bare parts of the plate with iodine vapor;
the exposure is impractically long
-Niepce lacked business savy, was quiet, shy, cautious,
and struggled with commercial success.
1825 Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre writes to J.
Nicéphore Niépce proposing a collaboration (introduced
by pharmacist Charles Chevalier); Niepce's brother had
died in 1833...needs funding
-Daguerre is a theatrical designer & co-creator of the
Diorama with Charles Marie Bouton, was cheerful,
outgoing & loved publicity.

The Diorama-a popular show of enormous views painted
on semitransparent canvas, with changing effects of
illuminated, reflected, or transmitted light within a dark
room 45ft high and 70ft wide, accompanied by music &
other sound effects.

Daguerre used the camera obscura to sketch backdrops
traced by hand in realistic detail before painting, & had
failed in any attempts at fixing images...
-Has a business motivated agenda; his only asset is PR):
-Daguerre states his assets to Niepce as: funding,
determination, energy, experience in gauging public taste,
friends in prominent positions, credibility, and recognition
as an artist with public acclaim.
-Daguerre could not produce a successful photograph to
show Niepce
1827 they meet in Paris to compare works.
On 4 January 1829 Niépce agreed to go into
partnership with Louis Daguerre; December 14th, 1829
a contract is signed, for the purpose of perfecting
Niepce’s Heliography
-They worked separately, under contract, & correspond via
coded letters.
1833 Niepce dies suddenly (of a stroke?). He is replace by
his son, Isadore in negotiations only, Daguerre picks up
his research.
  -Daguerre later admits the camera he gave to Niepce
was ineffective in producing clearer images.

-1831, Daguerre uses polished silver plates, and heated
iodine crystals vapor in the dark, creating silver iodine and
immediately placing them in a camera and creating one
hour exposures in bright sunlight without development,
creating a highly detailed negative image.
1834-5: Louis Daguerre creates a positive latent image
on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and
developed" after exposure to warmed mercury vapor,
reducing the exposure time from eight hours down to
20-30 minutes. (Mercury references are not unknown and
quite familiar in alchemal texts, not accidental as he
1837: Daguerre discovers that an image could be
made permanent by immersing it in a bath of sodium
chloride (table salt).
-Daguerre believes his new process is distinct from
Niepce’s (though founded on his partner’s knowledge) he
calls it the Daguerreotypie
1838- Isadore Niepce takes over the contract with
Daguerre to try to sell their recipe by both fee and
subscription; they fail.

1839: Daguerre recruits astronomer and Deputy,
Count Francois Arago, who negotiates with the
French government, backed by scientist and member of
the Upper House, Gay-Lussac.
The discovery is first announced by Arago (very vaguely)
on 7 January 1839 at the Royal Society (Daguerre a
no-show )
Arago makes a statement to the Chamber of Deputies:
  The daguerreotype “requires no knowledge of drawing
and is not dependent upon any manual dexterity.”
(Daguerre is a no-show to this announcement)
-Arago’s argument presented to the French gov’t:
If the invention remains in the hands of an individual there
is a danger that it will remain stationary for a long time;
made public it will soon be perfected by the ideas of

July 1839 the French government acquires the rights
& publication of methods of the daguerreotype in
order to “give it free to the world” in return for lifetime
pensions for Daguerre & Isadore Niepce and the
Legion of Honor for Daguerre; and larger sums...
August 19, 1839 , the process is announced to the world
by Arago, at the official birthday of photography; at a joint
meeting of the Academies des Sciences and Beaux-Arts
at the Institute de France
after D publishes a manual, Historique et Description des
procedes du Daguerreotype et du Diorama
“The Daguerreotype is not merely an instrument which
serves to draw Nature; on the contrary it is a chemical and
physical process which gives her the power to reproduce
-Daguerre patents his process in England five days before
the French announcement in Paris; a licensing fee is
immediately required for use in England.
-Daguerre then abandons photography for painting (studio
fire in Paris).
-The Daguerreotype announced as the first successful
photographic process,

-Paul Delaroche, a leading scholar of the day, exclaims,
“From today, painting is dead!”

Details of the Daguerreotype:
-This was a positive image on a metal support.

-A silvered copper plate, bought ready-made, and
sensitized with iodine vapor, the fumes forming
light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be
used within an hour.
-Exposing to light in a camera, between 10 and 20
minutes, depending upon available light
-Developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees
Centigrade over a spirit-lamp. This caused the mercury to
amalgamate with the silver (to those parts affected by
-Fixing the image in a warm solution of hyposulphite of
soda (table salt; later sodium sulfite was used.)
-Rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.
-The action of light left a milky white image formed by
mercury amalgam.
-His first plates were 8 1/2" by 6 1/2"; i--that this still
remains the standard "whole-plate" today.
-The quality of the photographs was stunning
-weaknesses: the pictures could not be reproduced and
were therefore unique (1st viewed as a plus; it meant that
the owner of the portrait could be certain that he had a
piece of art that could not be duplicated.)
-the surfaces were extremely delicate, often housed under
a glass-cover (in a case) to protect against abrasion, and
sealed from air to prevent tarnishing
-the image was reversed laterally, the sitter seeing himself
as he did when looking at a mirror. (Sometimes the
camera lens was equipped with a mirror to correct this).
-the chemicals (bromine and chlorine fumes and hot
mercury) were highly toxic;
-the images were difficult to view from certain angles.

-The Daguerreotype process, though good, was
expensive, and each picture was a once-only affair;
The only way of coping with this was to use two cameras
side by side. There was, therefore, a growing need for a
means of copying pictures which daguerreotypes could
never satisfy.
1840 daguerreotypes were generally toned with chloride of
gold, due to Hippolyte Fizeau; this increased contrast and
greater adherence of mercury to the silvered plate

7th of January, 1839 after Arago’s announcement of
Daguerre’s invention, several inventors came forward
with claims to having also made pictures by he action
of light.

Friedrich Gerber, a veterinary surgeon and prof. at Berne
University announced Feb. 2nd, 1839 in the
Schweizerischer Beobachter- of fixing images of the
camera obscura on paper coated with silver salts;
independently achieving a process of direct-positives, and
a negative process allowing any number of positive
copies, & enlarged images of microscopic objects

- Results not perfected & images mostly contact prints

-Rev. J.B. Reade, distinguished scientist in astronomical
& microscopical fields, made photomicrographs (based on
work of Wedgwood) on white leather, and on silver
chloride paper washed with gallic acid solution; used in
tanning leather.

-Reade used gallic acid as an accelerator and did not
realize he was developing a latent image.

-He fixed with hyposulphite of soda, listed in Brande’s
manual on chemistry on Herschel’s authority as a solvent
of silver salts.

-He called his micrographs made with a solar telescope,
solar mezzotints, and made contact copies of botanical
specimens and lace by superposition on sensitive paper,
and took photographs in the camera obscura; shown at
the Royal Society , London, April 1939 and compared
notes with Talbot mentioning the use of an infusion of galls
to speed up his photographs. (1037 claim contradicted by
a letter from Reade to his brother April1st, 1939)
- 1834: William Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent
(negative) images using paper soaked in silver
chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created
positive images by contact printing onto another
sheet of paper.... He sets his invention aside until the
announcement by the French Gov’t of Daguerre...(aka The
Salted Paper Print or Salt Print due the process)
-His paper to the Royal Society of London, dated 31
January 1839, actually precedes the paper by Daguerre;
it was entitled "Some account of the Art of Photogenic
Drawing, or the process by which natural objects may be
made to delineate themselves without the aid of the artist's
"How charming it would be if it were possible to cause
these natural images to imprint themselves durably and
remain fixed on the paper!"

The Calotype
-invented by William Henry Fox Talbot, rival to the
Daguerreotype, the calotype provided the answer to the
problem of duplication.
-The earliest paper negative we know of was produced in
August 1835; it depicts the now famous window at Lacock
Abbey, his home.
-The negative is small (1" square), and poor in quality,
compared with the striking images produced by the
Daguerreotype process.
_Also made by wife, Constance "little mouse traps"
1st known female photographer...
-1840, Talbot had made significant improvements, 1844
he was able to bring out a photographically illustrated
book entitled “The Pencil of nature."

-Compared with Daguerreotypes the quality of the early
calotypes were somewhat inferior.
-The great advantage of Talbot's method was that an
unlimited number of positive prints could be made. In fact,
today's photography is based on the same principle,
whereas by comparison the Daguerreotype, for all its
quality, was a blind alley.
-1841: Talbot patents his process under the name

Astronomer Sir John Herschel, on hearing Daguerre’s
discovery in Jan, 1839, sets out and solves the
problem of photography within a week.
-His 1st photograph of his father’s telescope at Slough
near London, taken Jan 29, 1939 on paper sensitized with
carbonate of silver and fixed with hyposulphite of soda.
-March 14, 1839 Herschel reads a paper to the Royal
Society “On the Art of Photography”, accompanied by 23
photographs on paper; some negatives...

-Hippolyte Bayard; develops positive prints in
March-1839-(May shows to Arago) after announcement
and before detailed instructions are released by the
French Government (and by Daguerre to the French
gov’t). Upon telling Arago, he is paid a small fee by the
French gov’t to keep quiet until Daguerre’s details are
-Feb. 1840 Bayard publishes his findings.
-February 1839 Sir John Herschel tells of his own findings
and key to fixing prints; the fact that he openly shares his
knowledge with Talbot and Daguerre leads to the stability
and longevity of the medium, and as a practice.

Antoine Hercules Romuald Florence, a french artist
living a remote area of Brazil, with notebooks from
1829-1837 (discovered in 1970) record his image making
with a camera obscura and silver nitrate; develops the
fundamental application of photochemical discoveries,
refocusing his efforts to produce copies for the use of
labels for pharmaceuticals and diplomas (pre-1837).
-In 1833 he uses the word, “photographie” to describe his
efforts, 5 years before Hershel recommended the word,
“photography,” to Talbot, and in 1834 the word,

-Daguerreotypes that remain are noticeable for their detail,
and this caused quite a sensation at the time.
-The Spectator (2 February 1839) called daguerreotypes
the "self operating process of Fine Art."
-The reaction in America was also one of amazement. The
Journal, "The Knickerbocker":
The Daguerreotype "requires no knowledge of drawing...."
and that "anyone may succeed.... and perform as well as
the author of the invention."
-The publicity was greeted with enormous interest, and
"Daguerreomania" became a craze overnight.
-An interesting account of these days is given by a writer
called Gaudin , who was present the day that the
announcement was made.
-However, not all people welcomed this exciting invention;
some pundits viewed in quite sinister terms. A newspaper
report in the Leipziger Stadtanzeiger, Leipzig city
advertiser stated:

The wish to capture evanescent reflections is not only
impossible, as has been shown by thurough German
investigation, but the mere desire alone, the will to do so,
is blasphemy. God created man in His own image, and no
man- made machine may fix the image of God. Is it
possible that God should have abandoned His eternal
principles, and allowed a Frenchman in Paris to give to the
world an invention of the Devil?...The ideal of the
Revolution-fraternity, and Napoleon’s ambition to turn
Europe into one realm-all these crazy ideas Monsieur
Daguerre now clams o surpass because he wants to
outdo the Creator of the world. If this thing were at all
possible, then something similar would have been done a
long time ago in antiquity by men like Archimedes or
Moses. But if these wise men knew nothing or mirror
pictures made permanent, then one can straight away call
the Frenchman Daguerre, who boasts of such unheard of
things, the fool of fools.”

-At that time some artists saw in photography a threat to
their livelihood
-some even prophesied that painting would cease to exist.

The mushrooming of photographic establishments
-Reflects photography's growing popularity; from a mere
handful in the mid 1840s to 66 in 1855, and to 147 two
years later.
-In London, a favorite venue was Regent Street where, in
the peak in the mid 'sixties there were no less than
forty-two photographic establishments!
-In America the growth was just as dramatic: in 1850 there
were 77 photographic galleries in New York alone.
-The demand for photographs was such that Charles
Baudelaire (1826-1867), a well known poet of the period
and a critic of the medium, commented:
"our squalid society has rushed, Narcissus to a man, to
gloat at its trivial image on a scrap of metal."

Talbot's photography was on paper, and inevitably the
imperfections of the paper were printed alongside with the
image, when a positive was made. Several experimented
with glass as a basis for negatives, but the problem was to
make the silver solution stick to the shiny surface of the

Albumen process:
1848 a cousin of Nicephore Niépce, Abel Niépce de
Saint-Victor, perfected a process of coating a glass plate
with white of egg sensitized with potassium iodide, and
washed with an acid solution of silver nitrate.
-This new Albumen process made for very fine detail and
much higher quality.
-However, it was very slow, & generally used for
architecture and landscapes; portraiture was simply not
-Progress slow in England, compared with other countries’

-Both Daguerre and Fox Talbot were partly responsible,
the former for having rather slyly placed a patent on his
invention whilst the French government had made it freely
available to the world, the latter for his lawsuits in
connection with his patents.
-Also in England there were fees associated with the
French copyright process...

1851 a new era in photography was introduced by
Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor in London, who
introduced the Collodion process. This process was
much faster than conventional methods, reducing
exposure times to two or three seconds, thus opening up
new horizons in photography: improves photographic
resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated
cotton dissolved in ether and alcohol) and chemicals on
sheets of glass. Wet plate collodion photography was
much cheaper than daguerreotypes, the negative/positive
process permitted unlimited reproductions, and the
process was published but not patented.
The collodion process required that the coating, exposure
and development of the image should be done whilst the
plate was still wet.

The wet collodion process, though in its time a great step
forward, required a considerable amount of equipment on
location. There were various attempts to preserve
exposed plates in wet collodion, for development at a
more convenient time and place, but these preservatives
lessened the sensitivity of the material. It was clear, then,
that a dry method was required. It is likely that the
difficulties of the process hastened the search for
instantaneous photography. Skaife, in a pamphlet, aptly
commented (1860):
"Speaking in general, instantaneous photography is as
elastic a term as the expression 'long and short.'"
Introduced in 1851, it a watershed in photography.
Up till then the two processes in use were the
daguerreotype and the calotype. Daguerreotypes were
better than calotypes in terms of detail and quality, but
could not be reproduced; calotypes were reproducible, but
suffered from the fact that any print would also show the
imperfections of the paper.

The search began, then, for a process which would
combine the best of both processes - the ability to
reproduce fine detail and the capacity to make multiple
prints. The ideal would have been to coat light sensitive
material on to glass, but the chemicals would not adhere
without a suitable binder which obviously had to be clear.
At first, Albumen (the white of an egg) was used. Then in
1851 Frederick Scott Archer came across collodion.

Collodion was a viscous liquid - guncotton dissolved in
ether and alcohol - which had only been invented in 1846,
but which quickly found a use during the Crimean war;
when it dried it formed a very thin clear film, which was
ideal for dressing and protecting wounds. (One can still
obtain this today, for painting over a cut). Collodion was
just the answer as far as photography was concerned, for
it would provide the binding which was so badly needed.
Lewis Carroll, himself a photographer who used collodion,
described the process in a poem he called "Hiawatha's
"First a piece of glass he coated
With Collodion, and plunged it
In a bath of Lunar Caustic
Carefully dissolved in water;
There he left it certain minutes.
Secondly my Hiawatha
Made with cunning hand a mixture

Prices for daguerreotypes varied, but in general would
cost about a guinea (£1.05), which would be the weekly
wage for many workers. The collodion process, however,
was much cheaper; prints could be made for as little as
one shilling (5p).

* 1853: Nada (Felix Toumachon) opens the first portrait
studio in Paris
* 1854: Adolphe Disderi develops carte-de-visite
photography in Paris, leading to worldwide boom in
portrait studios for the next decade for the masses by the introduction of
carte-de-visite photographs by André Disdéri . This
developed into a Daguerrotypomania, though it was
relatively short-lived.

Cartes-de-visite were small visiting card portraits (usually
measuring 4 1/2 x 2 1/2") introduced by a Parisian
photographer, André Disdéri, who in late 1854 patented a
way of taking a number of photographs on one plate
(usually eight), thus greatly reducing production costs. (He
was not actually the first to produce them; this honor
belongs to an otherwise obscure photographer called
Dodero, from Marseilles).
Different types of cameras were devised. Some had a
mechanism which rotated the photographic plate, others
had multiple lenses which could be uncovered singly or all

The carte-de-visite did not catch on until one day in May
1859 Napoleon III, on his way to Italy with his army, halted
his troops and went into Disdéri's studio in Paris, to have
his photograph taken. From this welcome publicity
Disdéri's fame began, and two years later he was said to
be earning nearly £50,000 a year from one studio alone.
In England carte-de-visite portraits were taken of Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert. One firm paid a small fortune
for exclusive rights to photograph the Royal Family, and
this signaled the way for a boom in collecting pictures of
the famous, or having one's own carte-de-visite made. It is
said that the portraits of Queen Victoria and the Royal
Family taken by John Mayall sold over one hundred
thousand copies.

1855-57, Another process developed by Archer was
named the Ambrotype , which was a direct positive on
glass. *:
 and metal (Tintypes or Ferrotypes) are popular in the US.

* 1855: beginning of stereoscopic era
STEREOSCOPIC photography
Stereoscopic, or 3D photography, works because it is able
to recreate the illusion of depth. Human eyes are set about
two-and-a-half inches apart, so each eye sees an image
slightly differently. If one takes two separate photographs
that same distance apart, with a suitable viewer it is
possible to recreate that illusion of depth.
It comes as a surprise to many to learn that the idea of
stereoscopy actually preceded photography. Binocular
drawings were made by Giovanni Battista della Porta
(1538-1615), whilst about the same period Jacopo
Chimenti da Empoli (1554-1640) produced drawings side
by side which clearly indicated his understanding of
binocular vision.

In 1613 the Jesuit Francois d'Aguillion (1567-1617), in his
treatise, coined the word "stéréoscopique"
The first practical steps to demonstrate the theory by
constructing equipment for the purpose did not take place
until the 1800s. Though most associate Brewster with the
invention, it was Sir Charles Wheatstone who, in June
1838, gave an address to the Royal Scottish Society of
Arts on the phenomena of binocular vision. In describing
the equipment, he said:
"I...propose that it be called a Stereoscope, to indicate its
property of representing solid figures."
Wheatstone's actual stereoscope is preserved at the
Science Museum in London. Eleven years were to elapse
before Sir David Brewster described a binocular camera,
and the first stereoscopic photographs began to be
Early workers in this field include Fenton, who took
photographs in Russia, when he visited there in 1852, and
Jules Duboscq, who made stereoscopes and stereoscopic
daguerreotypes. Duboscq in turn caused Antoine Claudet
to become interested in stereoscopy; indeed, it was
Claudet who patented stereoscopes in 1853.
The stereoscope took off in a big way when Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert observed one at the exhibition
at the Crystal Palace, and Brewster presented her with a
stereoscope made by Duboscq. This signaled the
beginning of a huge trade in stereoscopes and images; it
is estimated that by the mid eighteen-fifties over a million
homes owned one. One of the most successful salesmen
of stereoscopic cards was George Nottage, later Lord
Mayor of London, his catalogues listing over one hundred
thousand views.
The most common process for making stereoscopic cards
was the Albumen one, daguerreotype images being very

A variety of viewers became available, from the simple
Holmes viewer, to cabinet-type viewers which could store
fifty or so positives.

A different way to view images is the anaglyph process,
which was developed by Ducos Du Hauron, and was a
method of printing two images on to one sheet. The
process is still quite popular today.
The conventional method of viewing stereoscopic
photographs in the last century was to use a viewer which
held a pair of images, and which enabled each eye to see
only one; by fusing these together a three dimensional
effect was recreated.

It was W. Rollman who in 1853 first illustrated the principle
of the anaglyph using blue and red lines on a black field
with red and blue glasses to perceive the effect, but this
was for line drawings only. In 1858 Joseph D'Almeida
began projecting three-dimensional magic lantern slide
shows using red and green filters with the audience
wearing red and green goggles.

It is to Louis Ducas du Hauron that we owe the first printed
anaglyphs, produced in 1891. This process consisted of
printing the two negatives which form a stereoscopic
photograph on to the same paper, one in blue (or green),
one in red.
The viewer would then use colored glasses with red (for
the left eye) and blue or green (right eye). The left eye
would see the blue image which would appear black,
whilst it would not see the red; similarly the right eye would
see the red image, this registering as black. Thus a three
dimensional image would result.

The London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company
came into being in 1850 and continued for some seventy
years. Their output was colossal; they listed over a
hundred thousand stereo photographs in their 1858
catalogue. In general they tended to be views, plus some
portraits of comic scenes.
The Stereoscopic Society was founded in 1893, and is
one of two societies operating in Britain which continue to
promote this form of photography. It is still in existence.

An article in Amateur Photographer, dated November 27,
1902, had a lengthy article, together with examples of the
picture produced. “Those able to uncross their eyes so
that the two pictures fuse can see the stereo effect.”

The earliest enlargers used direct sunlight, and thus came
to be known as "solar cameras". It was an American, D.A.
Woodward, who in 1857 first constructed an enlarger. It
was a cumbersome object. The sun was collected by
means of a convex lens, and the camera has to be turned
with the sun. This design became the model for a number
of solar cameras. The picture shows an advert for his
cameras, and a medal that he had been awarded to him at
a major exhibition.
Another pioneer was Wothly, from Aachen, who made a
few improvements to Woodward's solar camera, and
exhibited portraits almost at life size.
Wothly's solar camera was a monstrosity! The condenser
had a diameter of 1 meter. The heat of the condensed
rays of sun was such that one had to have water troughs
built in.
However, perhaps the first ever reference to an enlarging
process can be attributed to Draper. In 1840 he wrote:
"Exposures are made with a very small camera on very
small plates. They are subsequently enlarged to the
required size in a larger camera on a rigid stand. This
method will probably contribute very much to the practice
of the art."
Louis Jules Duboscq (1817-1886) made an apparatus for
enlarging by electric light, and showed it to the Paris
Photographic Society in 1861.
Eventually, of course, the solar camera disappeared from
the photographic industry and was replaced by enlarging
cameras that used arc lamps. As the sensitivity of papers
increased, so it was possible to use other sources of light.

* 1861: Scottish physicist James Clerk-Maxwell
demonstrates a color photography system involving three
black and white photographs, each taken through a red,
green, or blue filter. The photos were turned into Lantern
Slides and projected in registration with the same color
filters. This is the "color separation" method.

* 1868: Ducas de Hauron publishes a book proposing a
variety of methods for color photography.

The Dry Plate Process
1871, when Dr. Richard Maddox discovered a way of
using an emulsion of gelatin (which had been discovered
only a few years before) instead of collodian; plates could
be sensitized in advance, a "dry plate" process,
 and eliminated the fumes associated which had led to
health conditions in practitioners.

1878 improvements lead to emulsion of gelatin and silver
bromide on a glass plate, improving the "dry plate"
process in sensitivity. This led to the development of the
dry plate process. * gelatin a, Dry plates could be
developed much more quickly than with any previous
technique. Initially it was very insensitive compared with
existing processes, but it was refined to the extent that the
idea of factory-made photographic material was now
becoming possible.

The introduction of the dry-plate process marked a turning
point. No longer did one need the cumbersome wet-plates,
no longer was a darkroom tent needed. Dry plates
remained sensitive for months and did not have to be
processed immediately. This led to more field work; and
the commercially manufactured standardization of the
materials, equipment and processes, requiring no
specialized knowledge.

Edward L Wilson of The Philadelphia Photographer, took
gelatin dry plates on a 22,000-mile voyage and developed
them upon his return eight months later, declaring, “It has
been the salvation of photography!Blessed be the

This process dates from 1873, when it was introduced by
William Willis. Plain paper with sensitive iron salts (no
silver) was exposed in contact with a negative. The print
would then be developed in a potassium oxalate solution.
The process produced an image with beautifully rich black
tones, and a tremendous tonal range, that makes platinum
prints stand out. It was also, unlike other processes,
Amongst those who used this medium were Peter Henry
Emerson, Clarence White , Frederick Evans, and Gertrude
One of the reasons why this and the gum-bichromate
process became more popular amongst serious
photographers was that these were ways of distancing
themselves from the snap shooters which began to
proliferate as a result of the introduction of the first Kodak
cameras and film; both processes required skills above
the level of the casual amateur photographer.
Its use declined after the first world war because of the
rising cost of platinum, when palladium largely replaced it.

Celluloid had been invented in the early eighteen-sixties,
and John Carbutt persuaded a manufacturer to produce
very thin celluloid as a backing for sensitive material.

1884. George Eastman introduces flexible film

Four years later he introduced the box camera, and
photography could now reach a much greater number of
Other names of significance include Herman Vogel , who
developed a means whereby film could become sensitive
to green light, and Eadweard Muybridge who paved the
way for motion picture photography.
Popular in the Victorian times was stereoscopic
photography , which reproduced images in three
dimensions. It is a process whose popularity waxed and
waned - as it does now - reaching its heights in the
mid-Victorian era.

* 1877-8: Edweard Muybridge, born in England as Edward
Muggridge, settles "Do a horse's four hooves ever leave
the ground at once?" bet among rich San Franciscans by
time-sequenced photography, of Leland Stanford's (former
governor of CA & builder of The Central Pacific Railroad)
horse in 1872. In 1874 Muybridge, who was charged for
the murder of his wife’s lover, was acquitted by a jury,
though he left the country until 1877. On return he
resumed work for Stanford using ripen emulsion, one aged
for several days at 90 degrees to increase sensitivity. It
produced, through a system of a tripwires to a camera, an
underexposed negative of the house’s four feel off the
ground which he retouched “for the purpose of giving
better effect to the details.” The validity was challenged
and so he continued with electrical tripwire cables on a
system of 24 cameras at a right angle to the motion on a
racetrack. The horse raced by, breaking the threads and
firing each shutter at 1/2000 of a second.

People were shocked by his silhouettes not only because
all four feel were off the ground at once, but only under his
abdomen, not hobbyhorse style when extended which
had been the pictorial & theoretical standard.
This created the phenomenon of the persistence of vision,
the sensation that images are continuous, and showed an
audience moving pictures.

1878 Oct. 19 issue of Scientific American readers were
instructed to cut and paste the images onto paper strips
facing out onto the inner compartment of a zoetrope with
the images facing out; a handheld rotating drum that when
rotated and viewed through the open top, blends a
sequence of images to produce the illusion of motion.

Muybridge begins a lecture tout of America and Europe
with his zoopraxiscope, a modified zoetrope using
transparencies of images mounted on a rotating circular
glass and projected by a magic lantern.

Thomas Eakins who incorporated the camera in his
painting courses, suggested to M to include a
measurement scale in the background so that artists could
copy his results. He convinced the University of
Pennsylvania to underwrite Muybridge’s plan for an
expanded study of animal locomotion; for which he built an
outdoor studio in 1884 and concluded a year later. The
project used animals from a local zoo and in 1887,
published the results by subscription in eleven volumes of
Animal Locomotion. Eakins uses a wheel disk camera
with M. to record successive phases of motion on a single

M’s work revolutionized the study of animals and their
anatomical spacial relationships while moving through

Muybridge continues to use cameras with shutters
controlled by an electromagnetic device, enabling them to
be fired at selective intervals., but switched to gelatin dry
plates for ease of use. Then used models on a dark
background divided by white threads into a grid of squares
so that images could be more effortlessly analyzed and

Late 1850’s Etiene-Jules Marley, a scientist, built
mechanical and pneumatic devices directly attached to his
subject which activated a pen resting on a band of moving
paper which recorded the unobservable movements of
human locomotion. Marley’s quest to simultaneously
display the relationship of all the body’s moving parts in
time and space led him to photography, “all at oneness”.
This was a major break in the Renaissance representation
of the still frame and a rupture in the western perception of
time; movement as a collection of events or “moments” to
be perceived all at one time. He wanted to portray the
notion of “now”.

The evolving notion of simultaneous time is now known as
stream of consciousness. Marley developed graph
methods of recording skeletal and muscle movements with
the fusel photograhique (the photographic gun), a camera
with a rotating plate capable of taking a rapid sequence of
images, in order to provide an accurate schematic
diagram of muscle movement. Chronophotographs used
a rotating slit shutter. He accurately photographed the
free flight of birds. (Of interest to the Wright brothers) His
use of a single camera at a single vantage point and a
single subject was a pre-cinematic concept. He
revolutionized the camera to from recording a single
moment to a flow of moments.
In 1892 Marley develops a projector to analyze his
studies. He was unable to commercially develop his
research and was not widely recognized. He confirms
the notions of Charles Lyell (1830; Principles of Geology)
and Charles Darwin (1859; Origin of the Species) that the
earth is not a static environment, governed by a biblical
clock, but a continuum of time.

* 1880: George Eastman, age 24, sets up Eastman Dry
Plate Company in Rochester, New York. First halftone
photograph appears in a daily newspaper, the New York

* 1888: first Kodak camera, containing a 20-foot roll of
paper, enough for 100 2.5-inch diameter circular pictures.
George Eastman: “You Push the Button, We Do the Rest!”
Popular photography was born

* 1889: Improved Kodak camera with roll of film instead of

* 1900: Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera introduced.

Unusual Developments
Frederick Boissonas, a German, used a large camera to
photograph close-ups of the Acropolis in Athens, in 1913.
The largest camera in the world.
In 1900 the Mammoth camera was used to photograph
trains in America. Weighing 600 Kg., it took fifteen men to
operate the brute.

George R Lawrence set it up and pointed at a brand-new
train standing in the distance. The Alton Limited was the
pride of the Chicago & Alton Railway Lawrence had been
asked to make the largest photograph possible of it,
sparing no expense.
It reputedly cost five thousand dollars to build this camera
- a huge sum in the 1900s.
The picture size was 4.5 x 8 feet. Whether the prints still
exist, or how the development took place, I have as yet
been unable to ascertain!

Edmond Bloch, from Paris, designed a Photo-Cravate in
1890; this was operated using a pneumatic bulb in the

Several walking canes (e.g. the Ben Akiba) had small
cameras inserted into their handles.

Cameras disguised as binoculars were also produced. On
show in the RPS Museum is Nicour's Photobinocular,
dated 1867. The left-hand side contained the camera, the
right the viewfinder.

Samuel McKellen patented a detective camera, shaped
like an attaché case.

Cameras were disguised as parcels, or books. The
Taschenbuck, shaped like a book, became quite popular,
selling for £7 10s (£7.50)

Famous was Stirn's Detective camera, made from 1886,
and costing less than two pounds. This was worn under a
waistcoat, with the lens protruding through a buttonhole.

The Ticka camera, made from 1906, was shaped like a
large pocket watch

There were even cameras designed to look like a pistol.
One, dated 1862, was the Thompson Revolver. It was
fitted with an f2 Petzval design, which permitted
instantaneous exposures in good light. Another example
was Skaife's "Pistolgraph." He once aimed this at Queen
Victoria, and was immediately surrounded by the police,
and he was forced to open the pistol to satisfy the police
that this was not an assassination attempt.

There were other unusual applications. One camera was
mounted on a kite, another on a rocket, whilst a Dr.
Neubronner perfected a camera to be mounted on a
homing pigeon.

Photographers using the Collodion process had a
particular difficulty when on location, as the sensitizing,
exposure and development had to be carried out whilst the
plate was still wet. Some used tents as makeshift
darkrooms, but a more up-market darkroom was a
converted hansom cab, such as one used by Thomas
Annan. An example of a converted perambulator is
described in the "Photographic News" for 29 April 1859.

Perhaps the most unusual method of enlargement was the
use of Cristoid film, in use at the turn of the century. This
being all gelatin, it swelled when it was developed, and
therefore produced a larger photograph without the need
for enlargement. It is claimed that Alvin Langdon Coburn
experimented with this film, his "ten by eights" finishing up
as twelve by tens!

In 1856 the King of Naples forbade the practice of
photography in his dominions. The reasons are not given,
but it is possible that he or his subjects associated it with
the evil eye!

"Watch the birdie!" The Museum at George Eastman
House displays a little brass bird over a camera. The
legend reads:
"Birdie, 1870s. Nineteenth-century photographers used
many devices to try to get the attention of their subjects.
This birdie not only tweeted, but also fluttered its tail when
the photographer squeezed the air bulb attached to the
slender pipe. The phrase 'watch the birdie' originated with
this item." (1)
(1) I am grateful to Claudio Simone, of George Eastman
House, for this information.

The following appeared in the St. Catherine's Journal,
Ontario, 10/9/1859:
"An Irishman in Oswego [New York] who had been two or
three times, unsuccessfully, to an artist to take a
Daguerreotype (sic) of his dead child, actually stopped the
funeral procession, last Saturday, and taking the coffin up
into the daguerrean gallery, insisted that the likeness
should be taken. It was done, and the procession moved
on, after standing some time in the street."

A photograph taken in 1842 has sold for a world record
£565,250 at auction.
The photograph of the Temple of Jupiter at the Acropolis
in Athens was taken in 1842 by the French artist and
historian, Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey.
It was expected to fetch up to £120,000 but attracted rival
telephone bids that pushed the price up during the auction
at Christie's in London.
The image, known as a Daguerreotype after the inventor,
was taken using an early photographic process with the
image made on a light-sensitive silver-coated metallic
The record sale was among 86 photographs taken by
Girault de Prangey, which raised £3.7 million. They
featured some of the earliest surviving photographs of
Greece and the Middle East, which the artist
photographed on his travels.

Story filed: 16:49 Thursday 22nd May 2003

In 1906 a Mr. S. L. Rothafel dipped cotton material in rose
essence, and hung this in front of an electric fan at a
cinema in Pennsylvania during the showing of a newsreel.
We have no record of how successful it was. Rather
disastrous was the production of a play in Broadway in
1945, when the usherettes, programs and upholstery were
sprayed with French perfume. Sadly, the audience went to
sleep, the actors became sick, and the experiment was
In early 1960 "Smellovision" was launched with the
screening of a film called "Scent of Mystery." The smells
were piped to each seat in the auditorium, programmed by
a track on the film. The smells were said to include new
bread, garlic, coffee, oranges and sea breezes. A review
quoted an entrepreneur as saying "I am scared that too
many of the opposition will turn up at the premier armed
with Airwicks!"

To top