History of Photography Timeline— Calotypes, the RPS, and les cartes des visites.


February 15, 2013 by derrickjcullen

Calotype negative and Albumen print of Saint Andrew’s Castle.

Calotype negative (left) & Albumen print (right), Saint Andrew’s Castle, 1843, Doctor John Adamson

What really set the Calotype apart from its predecessors was the technique of developing the latent image in paper form. This allowed photographers to use shorter exposure times and— later on, in a darkroom— pull the faint exposure towards its fully developed potential. Another bonus of this method was the fact that multiple positive prints could be obtained from a single paper negative through contact printing. Talbot’s order of moving from a negative to a positive image has remained with us until this day.

Saint Andrew’s Castle image
The Photogram— A History

An 1858 photographic exhibition at the South Kensington Museum.

Charles Thurston Thompson, “Exhibition of the Photographic Society of London and the Société française de photographie at the South Kensington Museum, 1858”, 1858.

The Royal Photographic Society is the world’s oldest national photographic society in existence. It was originally founded in London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1853. Its motto, Universa Vita Percepta translates to All Life Perceived. The society is quite active in the photographic scene— its archives are available to the public, has regularly published a journal, hosts an annual exhibition, and presents various awards and medals to photographers. Something that I found particularly intriguing were its numerous workshops and lectures, open to both members and non-members.

Exhibition image source
The Royal Photographic Society’s official website

Creepy little girl holding creepy little doll.

Une carte de visite, Lowthian Bros, Grimsby circa1889–1893.

Les Cartes des visites were small photographs patented in Paris, France in 1854. The patent holder— André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri— would mount an albumen print onto a thicker card stock for sale. The format was slow to start, but picked up once prominent individuals began using and trading them as visiting cards. These sort of became one of the first national crazes, haha.

The future mother image source

19th century actors cartes des visites, University of Washington

Derrick Cullen


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