English Photography: Negative-based Processes

English cabinent card
Figure 1.--This unidentified child, we think a boy, had his portrait taken in 1902. We think he is English, but are having trouble reading the photographer's information. Note the grey card with silver lettering. That was a popular combination at the turn of the 20th century. A British reader thinks it may be "Station Road, Sheffield". Perhaps, but I seem to see a "w." at the end. The only common place name with a final W ends in "dew". Another reader suggests it might be Shaftsbury.

It would be Talbot's process which used a negative that would until the digital age be the basis for modern photography. Talbot worked to improved his process in the 1840s. Frederick Scott Archer (1813-57) in England invented the photographic collodion process which preceded the modern gelatin emulsion. The initial result ambrotype which used this process. This esentially ended the commercial potential of the calotype. Professional studios quickly adopted the collodion process. Interestingly, upperclass amateurs, often from the landed gentry, continued to dable with caloptypes. Thus many of these images are scenes of the countryside, but rarely of the rising industrial cities. The first commercial negative process was the albumen print. This began with the carte-de-viste (CDV) which first appeared in France during the late 1850s. The CDV was hugely popular in England by the 1860s and continued to be the principal commercial photographic portrait in the 1870s and 80s. We begin to see more cabinent cards by the 1880s which by the turn of the 20th century had become the principal portrait type. And silver-nitrate prints both for amateur snapshots and studio portraits replaced albumen ptints. While English researchers had played an important role in the development of black and white photography, the development of color photography in the 20th century was led primarily by American and Germn companies.

Creating the Negative

It would be Talbot's process which used a negative that would until the digital age be the basis for modern photography. Talbot worked to improved his process in the 1840s. Frederick Scott Archer (1813-57) in England invented the photographic collodion process which preceded the modern gelatin emulsion. The initial result ambrotype which used this process. This esentially ended the commercial potential of the calotype. Professional studios quickly adopted the collodion process. Interestingly, upperclass amateurs, often from the landed gentry, continued to dable with caloptypes. Thus many of these images are scenes of the countryside, but rarely of the rising industrial cities.

Albumen Process

The first commercial negative process was the albumen print. This began with the carte-de-viste (CDV) which first appeared in France during the late 1850s. The CDV was hugely popular in England. We suddenly see an exponential increase in the number of photographic portraits. The CDV was the dominant formjat by the 1860s and continued to be the principal commercial photographic portrait in the 1870s and 80s. We begin to see more cabinent cards by the 1880s. We are not sure just when the cabinet card became the principal portrait type. We see klarge numbers of CDVs in the late-19th century. Many more than in America wher the cabinet card became the dominabt format in the 18790s. We even see CDVs in England in the early-20th century. Our English archive is more limited than our Amerucan archive, thus we can not yet work out the rekative importabnce of these formats.

Silver Nitrate Process

We see a wide range of English silver-nitrate photographs in the 20th century. Silver-nitrate prints began replacing albumen prints for both for amateur snapshots and studio portraits at thevturn-of-the 20th century. As in America, we see post card backed prints, both snapshots and studio portraits. We see the studio portraits continued to be done as cabinet cards. This was mostly in he early-20th century, but we some in the 1920s and 30s. By his time, however, we see stidio portraits being done mostly in paper frames and fold-open portfolios. Snsp shots were done in various sizes and shapes and differing border treatment. We have not photogtaphs archived many examples yet because we are looking for dated examples.

Color

While English researchers had played an important role in the development of black and white photography, the development of color photography in the 20th century was led primarily by American and German companies. Ilford was also active, but not as successful. We begin to see color images in he 930s, but not very many. It was not until the 1970s that we see any number of color snapshots.








HBC




Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main English photography page]
[Return to the Main English page]
[Return to the Main country photography page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Essays]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossary] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]



Created: 4:46 AM 10/8/2008
Last updated: 12:11 PM 8/6/2018